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MoCo School Board Balks At Making Muslim Holiday A Day Off

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In Maryland, Montgomery County school officials have adopted a calendar for the next school year without granting a day off for students on a major Muslim holiday.

In recent months, many in the county's Muslim community have demanded to have schools closed for the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha. Muslim leaders point out Montgomery schools routinely close for Christian and Jewish holidays, and that students who observe Eid are unfairly forced to choose between missing school work and religious observance.

The Montgomery County Board of Education voted 5 to 2 to adopt the new calendar without a day off for Eid. School officials say they can't legally observe religious holidays. Instead, they say the operational impact of a holiday is key, so they look for high absenteeism on holidays. Board members say metrics for the most recent observance if Eid on October 15 showed no significant rise in absenteeism.

Members of the school board said they would continue studying the issue.

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