Equal Stature for Religious Holidays in the Schools

December 5, 2002

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On December 5, 2002 the St. Petersburg Times reported that "Hillsborough school [FL] officials have decided they no longer will penalize high school students who take time off to observe a religious holiday. As always, students who miss class for a religious observance will receive an excused absence. But that absence will no longer cost them the exemption from semester exams awarded students who maintain perfect attendance. Such exemptions are a coveted privilege in many high schools. The new policy comes nearly two years after the School Board decided to recognize Yom Kippur by letting all students have the day off. Hillsborough was the first Tampa Bay area school district to mandate a day off in observance of a Jewish holiday. Jewish students, parents and teachers said it was only fair because Christians get out of school for Christmas and Good Friday."