Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Muslim Holidays Sought for School Calendar

Two Muslim holidays may be included on the 2008-09 school year calendar, if staff and administrator unions agree.

School board member Rasheed Abdul-Haqq raised the issue at Tuesday’s board meeting, just before a vote on the 2008-09 calendar. Abdul-Haqq said he had brought up the question previously, but the two holidays, Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha, were not on the calendar presented for approval.

Objectors said the two extra days would have to be negotiated with the Plainfield Education Association, which represents about 1,200 school employees, and the administrators’ union. Board member Lisa Logan Leach said if holidays were to be added, Juneteenth and Jewish holidays should also be considered. But others said approval for those holidays had not been sought for the 2008-09 school year.

After some discussion, the board suspended the vote and Interim Superintendent Garnell Bailey agreed to meet with union leaders. Bailey acknowledged that Abdul-Haqq had brought up the question earlier in the year and that in fairness it should be pursued with the unions.

For more on Eid ul Fitr, click here. For more on Eid ul Adha, click here.

Abdul-Haqq mentioned several school districts that have Muslim holidays on their calendars, including Piscataway, Paterson, Hillside, Irvington and Newark. The holiday dates vary from year to year, as they are based on a lunar calendar. The anticipated date for Eid ul Fitr is Oct. 1, 2008 and Eid ul Adha is anticipated to start on Dec. 8. The exact date depends on sightings of the new moon.

--Bernice Paglia


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