Muslim community leaders in Montgomery County Maryland are asking parents in the county to keep children home from school on an important religious holiday.
Eid ul-Adha, which is celebrated around October 15, is not recognized as a “day-off” holiday in Montgomery County public schools. County officials say students who observe the holiday can take an excused absence and tests are not given on those days. But Anhar Crem, a senior at Northwest High, says that’s not entirely accurate.
“They prohibit standardize testing, but tests such as unit tests, or quizzes which are very important to our grade, are given on those days,” he says.
Leaders with the Council on American-Islamic Relations have urged the county to close schools during Eid, but county officials insist the school calendar cannot be altered for religious reasons. Instead officials say they could agree to close schools if there was evidence of high student absence on the holiday.
Zayna Chadry, vice president of the Maryland chapter of CAIR, says urging parents of all faiths to keep kids home on the October 15 observance of Eid is a direct response to the school board’s policy.
“These are the demands that were placed on us by Superintendent Joshua Starr and the Board of Education so we’re just doing our best to try and meet them as much as we can," she says.
Calls to the board of education were not returned. The total number of Muslim students in Montgomery County Schools is unknown.