MCPS gives students have days off for Christian religious holidays including Christmas and Easter. These days allow for students to be able to celebrate with their family and relatives. However, other holidays, such as the Hindu holiday of Diwali, the Islamic holiday of Eid, Persian New Year, and the Chinese Lunar New Year are not federal holidays. Should students have a day off in order to celebrate or worship during these non-Christian religious holidays?
Students are allowed to leave school early for religious holidays. “I turned in a form to leave for Persian New Year on March 21 last year signed by my mom and brought it to the attendance office when it was time to leave school,” junior Angie Tehrani said.
However, students say the school makes it difficult for students to leave for necessary holidays. “I wanted to leave school on March 21 last year due to Persian New Year and they didn’t let me leave until I went to speak to my grade administrator and have it confirmed with a parent,” Tehrani said.
It is important to make sure students aren’t skipping school, but it should be made easier to leave school if a note is brought. “If the school made it easier to leave when notes are brought and signed, I would be able to get back home to celebrate with my family sooner,” sophomore Katelyn Cheng said.
A day off from school for specific bigger holidays should be required, however for smaller religious holidays, students should be allowed to leave early. “I don’t necessarily think we should take a holiday for religious purposes, but it sure is convenient that there’s a break during Christmas and Easter,” junior Val Zhao said.
Other holidays require an entire day off to fully celebrate the holiday. “I celebrate Chinese New Year with my family, and only being able to leave early doesn’t work because I need the entire day to prepare for the holiday,” Cheng said.
Since Christian and Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are recognized, students celebrating other holidays should also receive days off. “Yes, we should have a day off on these other holidays. It is only fair because we get multiple Jewish holidays off so it wouldn’t be fair to exclude any other religious holidays,” Cheng said.
Leaving school early is simply not enough time to be able to completely celebrate certain holidays with family and relatives. Students should have a day off for religious holidays pertaining to their culture.