Cutting off their noses to spite their faces


BOETableLogo20140715That’s what members of the Montgomery County Board of Education did by a vote of 7-1 when they decided to remove all references to all religious holidays from the school calendar instead of acknowledge two Islamic holiday references on their calendar.

It seems the school system of that county in Maryland allows its schools to be closed on the religious holidays of Jews and Christians because observant students of those faiths as well as faculty members stay home during their holidays and the high absenteeism in schools makes it pointless to have class. Sounds like the school board is giving in to mob rule by closing schools because students aren’t present thereby making it possible for students and their parents to dictate when schools open or close….of course that’s not the case because when Muslims tried to keep their children home from school during the Islamic holidays after the month of fasting or in celebration of Hajj classes continued as usual. Officials say the number of absent students/staff didn’t meet the threshold….not enough in the “mob” stayed home.

The Muslims sensing an inequality in the way they are treated made repeated demands on the Board to at least acknowledge their holidays on the school calendar….simply typing on the calendar “eid al-fitr” or “eid al-adha” would most likely have been enough to ameliorate their concerns……….for now but Montgomery’s school board went whole hog and got rid of any reference to ANY religion on their calendar while will no doubt still continuing to close on days where people other than Muslims celebrate their holidays.

Michael A. Durso District 5 Montgomery County Board of Education

Michael A. Durso
District 5
Montgomery County Board of Education

There’s so much wrong with this story that I don’t know where to begin, but I want to take time to celebrate the Montgomery School Board’s one member of clarity, Michael Durso who voted against that insane proposal to not acknowledge Islamic holidays and instead remove all references to ANY religion.  His was the only voice of reason among a board of “education” when he noted that Montgomery brags about its diversity and its embrace of different cultures but takes actions that come off as insensitive to Muslim families.

This is not the time of year for this type of story.  It won’t be long before the conservative pundits all over will label Muslims as the ‘grinch who stole Christmas’…..their war on Christmas stories are a perennial stable, and that will only increase the already heightened xenophobic racist reaction to Muslims.  Why the School board didn’t make such a simple addition to their calendar is an indication of their close and narrow minded approach to the citizens of that county.  I hope they, with the exception of Mr. Durso are all removed when their time comes up for reelection.  Are you listening citizens of Montgomery county?

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