Maryland school district officials adopt calendar that gives off Muslim holiday
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Elected officials in Montgomery County, Maryland, which lies just outside of Washington, D.C., voted Tuesday to give students a day off on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

The change will go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year, designating May 13 as a teacher professional day so students can celebrate the holiday, the Washington Post reported.

College Board, the organization that facilitates testing for Advanced Placement classes, said tests planned for May 13 will be given a second time for Montgomery County students on May 18.  

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Muslim parents and students pressed for the day off at a recent school board meeting, the Washington Post reported. Montgomery County makes up Maryland’s largest school system with an enrollment of more than 165,000 students, and it gives students the day off for two Jewish holidays and multiple days around Christmas and Easter. 

“This is a big victory for our students,” said Samira Hussein, a longtime advocate for the move told the Washington Post. “They will feel accepted and acknowledged by their teachers, their Board of Education, their superintendent.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim civil liberties organization, applauded the shift and the school board for lobbying the College Board to make the calendar work for students. The organization said the action shows “a strong commitment to inclusivity, diversity and equity.”

“This kind of decision sends a message to these students that you are not only welcome here but you belong here and you are celebrated here — we want you to feel like you have a place in the school system,” Zainab Chaudry, the organization's director of Maryland outreach told the Washington Post.  

The calendar will also give students the day off for Lunar New Year, which is celebrated by many Asian families. That date will fall on Feb. 12, 2021 in the 2020-2021 school year.

Inauguration Day in 2021 will still be a normal school day, but Montgomery County School Board member Patricia O’Neill called for teachers to provide instruction related to the inauguration and for schools to air the ceremony.