Letter Misses the Point

Aisha Khan’s letter addressed to Baltimore County School Board members (“Your Say,” Oct. 13) pleads for keeping Baltimore County public schools closed for the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and for the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr to “be honored and acknowledged in some way in the school calendar.”

Actually, they are: Many schools have initiated special programs explaining and acknowledging these holidays in a number of schools.

However, Khan misses the point of the school closings for the Jewish holidays: It is not for the children’s sake primarily, although the large numbers of absentees would make difficult any real learning in some schools. It is because of the large numbers of faculty and staff who would be absent, making a parody of learning with substitutes who often are unable to properly teach certain subjects, and because of security concerns with so many staff not appearing for duty on these three days.

Since the county decided not to open schools on these days for 2018, it will avoid having a significant percentage of Jewish faculty and staff use vacation time to be in synagogues rather than dishonoring their most important holidays by being in their schools.

Should there ever be enough Muslim faculty and staff who would pose the same problems by staying home, perhaps this situation will be revisited.

 

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