New York, NY – New York City public schools have added two Muslim holidays to the school calendar, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina announced Wednesday.
Schools will now close for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, making New York City the largest school district in the nation to recognize the two holidays on the official school calendar.
“We are committed to having a school calendar that reflects and honors the extraordinary diversity of our students,” said Farina.
De Blasio said the change means that Muslim families won’t be forced to choose between observing the holidays and sending their kids to school.
The announcement was made at PS/IS 30 in Brooklyn, where officials said 36 percent of students were absent the last time Eid al-Adha fell on a school day.
“We’re here today to make good on a promise to our Muslim brothers and sisters that a holiday of supreme importance to the Muslim community will be recognized in our school calendar so that children can honor the holiday without missing school,” the mayor said.
“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for adding Eid-al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr to the public school holiday calendar,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “Islam is one of the largest religions in the world, and the Muslim community is thriving not just in The Bronx but throughout the city of New York. This decision allows our city’s Muslim community to fully practice their faith without it interfering with their school attendance and education. As I have said in the past, by recognizing these two important holidays, we show that not only are we welcoming to everyone’s religious beliefs but that we respect everyone’s Constitutional right to freedom of religion.”
Eid al-Adha will be observed for the first time on Sept. 24. Eid-al-Fitr, which falls over the summer, will be designated a holiday for those attending summer school.
De Blasio said it’s all about respect for families, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
“Families are the fabric of our city. They’re the core of our city,” the mayor said. “All families deserve respect. Every kind of family deserves respect, and that’s what we’re noting today.”
Other school districts in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey already close public schools in observance of Muslim holidays, according to the city.