School District Considers Changing Holiday Names on Calendar

November 10, 2000

Source: The Baltimore Sun

On November 10, 2000, The Baltimore Sun reported that "Recognizing the school system's growing diversity, the Howard County Board of Education will consider renaming religious holidays on the yearly school calendar to eliminate all nonsecular references. At last night's board meeting, school district spokeswoman Patti Caplan recommended the board move to a 'purely secular calendar' by calling holiday periods - such as Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur - 'board-approved' holidays...But Sandra H. French, the board chairman, said she was opposed to the idea because it is misleading. Only some days off from school are designated by the board, and most are set by state law. 'These are state-mandated holidays. They are not board-approved holidays,' French said. 'And if this is offensive to someone, then we need to take the whole list - Presidents Day and everything - and list every single one as a state-mandated holiday.'...Member Stephen C. Bounds was adamant that the calendar stay as is. 'Frankly, I think that changing the designations on the calendar as they have always existed does absolutely nothing to promote ethnic diversity in any way, shape or form,' Bounds said. He said that children still would be off from school for a religious reason whether it was called that or not. 'To me, that is the height of politically correct absurdity. And I certainly would not support that,' Bounds said. 'I think it's ridiculous.' The board will hold a public hearing on the 2001-2002 calendar Jan. 11 and approve its final version in February."