All Religious Holidays May Be Eliminated in Clifton, NJ, Schools
The Clifton Public School district is considering eliminating all non-federal holidays that come with a day off.
School officials say the school year is getting too long, extending almost to July. They also claim the move would be a reflection of diversity.
Some parents say it would be the opposite of diversity.
Clifton boasts an extremely diverse student body, with 60 languages and multiple cultures represented in the school and among families.
With that diversity in mind, school officials have added multiple days off for various religious holidays, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Diwali, Holy Friday, and Eid al-Fitr.
When you add those to the list of federal religious and non-religious holidays, you get a school calendar that is stretched deep into June to get in the state-mandated 180 days of classroom instruction.
The school board has set up a committee to study the issue further and has polled parents and community members.
Paterson asked parents two key questions:
- Would you be in favor of changes to the school calendar that would allow the district to close by approximately the second week of June?"
- Would you be in favor of a school calendar that eliminates school closures for all NON-federal holidays and all NON-federal religious holidays in order to end the school year earlier?"
The poll was taken down earlier this week.
Results of the survey have not been made public, but comments to the district website and social media pages showed considerable backlash.
One resident says the move would "send a message that Clifton schools do not embrace diversity or practice tolerance for all religions."
Others suggested they would just keep their kids home, anyway, to celebrate the religious holidays recognized in their family.
The calendar for this school year has already been set, so the earliest changes would likely be made would be for the next school year.