Baltimore County Muslims Express Concerns About School System Calendar Recommendations

February 27, 2006

Source: The Baltimore Sun,0,4844129.story

On February 27, 2006 The Baltimore Sun reported, "A Baltimore County school board committee has made recommendations about religious holidays for the school system's calendar, and a leader of the Muslim community said he is disappointed that it didn't suggest closing for two Islamic holy days. One of the recommendations is to allow students to have two 'excused absences' from school for religious holidays. But Bash Pharoan, president of the Baltimore County Muslim Council, has been lobbying to close schools on two Islamic holy days since 2004 because the system closes for the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur... State regulations already deem religious observance a 'lawful absence,' along with illness or death of a family member. But the committee suggests that the county school system go a step further by petitioning the state board of education to amend its regulations so 'religious observance would not mar a student's official attendance record nor prevent any student from obtaining perfect attendance'... Board members will discuss the recommendations tomorrow. If there is consensus, the recommendations will be sent to Superintendent Joe A. Hairston, said school board president Tom Grzymski."