Hillsborough School Board Votes to Remove All Religious Holidays from Calendar

October 26, 2005

Source: St. Petersburg Times

[sptimes.com/2005/10/26/Hillsborough/School_calendar_will_.shtml]

On October 26, 2005 the St. Petersburg Times reported, "Nearly a year after local Muslims first asked that an Islamic holiday be recognized by the school district - just like Yom Kippur for Jews and Good Friday for Christians - board members voted to end vacation days for all religious holidays. The board approved a 2006-07 calendar that substitutes three secular vacation days for three Christian and Jewish holidays. The vote was 5-1. Board member Carol Kurdell was absent... 'We feel like this is an extreme measure,' said Ahmed Bedier, Florida director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. 'We can't say it enough, especially to Christian and Jewish folks, our brothers and sisters in faith: This was not our doing, and we didn't ask for it.' The approved calendar eliminates vacation days coinciding with Yom Kippur, Good Friday and the Monday after Easter. The days will be replaced with time off on Washington's Birthday in February and two days near the end of the school year, which will give students and teachers a four-day weekend... The only religious holiday remaining on next year's calendar in Hillsborough is Christmas, which occurs during the district's winter break. The calendar changes were recommended by a district committee after Bedier asked that Eid al-Fitr - the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan - be included."