Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hari Krishna ... Hari Krishna

Today on the McLaughlin Group ... actually, I don't know that it was today. We tape everything on TiVo so we can skip through commercials ... and ... honestly, the days start to blur together. In any case, on the McLaughlin Group that we watched today, they debated an interesting topic.

Winter break is based around the Christian holiday of Christmas. Spring break is based around the Christian holiday of Easter. All together, there are 78 religious holidays that could be celebrated by various religions throughout the school year.

Right now, students who take days off to celebrate religious holidays are given an unexcused absence ... therefore, Christian students are, by default, given two of their major religious holidays off ... while Jewish students aren't given Yom Kippur or Rosh HaShanah and Muslim students aren't given Muharram or Mawlid al-Nabi.

So, what's the solution? Some are arguing that we should do away with all religious holidays ... to which I ask ... does anyone think there's a school board anywhere in the United States that would vote to have students attend on December 25th? Good luck with that.

It seems like there's a simple solution ... and I can't understand why every school isn't already doing it. Personal days. Quite a few employers give their people a set amount of vacation time ... say two weeks ... then a set amount of personal time ... say three days ... to use here or there.

For instance, give each child three personal days. That child can use those days for religious holidays, family reunions, or Cubs games up at Wrigley ... not that I'm biased.

It just seems like a simple solution ... whether you're Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or a robe-wearing, tambourine-playing Hari Krishna, you're guaranteed the right to participate in your particular holidays without repercussion. What more could you ask for?

That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don't know if I can do it
Oh no I've said too much
I haven't said enough

REM - Losing My Religion


  1. College One10:59 PM

    However, what about the teachers? They would have to be there everyday, no matter what day.

    For instance, Christmas, they wouldn't be able to take off, cause there'd be kids still there.

    Sure...they could get substitutes and get the same amount of personal days as the students... But personal experience (and coming from a small town school, my experience isn't very good) the majority of teachers are Christians. There's no way a school would be able to run with the entire faculty as substitutes. And, for Christmas, wouldn't you hate to be that one Jewish kid sitting in the classroom with a substitute while everyone else is outside playing?

    Besides... I don't think I would trust giving students free days to just randomly take off... too much freedom that could turn bad. And the best part of winter break is the no homework part... If you had just random days off, you'd have to catch up on your work...and while I LOVED the excused absences days for all the clubs I was in, the make up work was MURDER.

    ~College One

  2. Well, teachers are already given vacation and personal days. So if they want to take off for Yom Kippur, I think it's covered.

    And you're right ... it could get out of hand if you gave students a lot of time. But ... three days sounds good. Or ... maybe four? One for each quarter? Or two ... one for each semester? I'm willing to compromise.

    It's true ... they would have to make up any missed homework and/or exams. But ... it seems like a fair trade-off. If your family wants to celebrate a specific religious holiday ... then you'll have to pull a little bit extra load on that day.

    But ... I'm not on a school board ... and my opinion and 99 cents will get you a double cheeseburger at McDonalds. :)

  3. Nick, laboring on labor day,3:16 PM

    Who said Christmas is a Christian holiday? It used to be, and for some it still is, but I know many non-christain folks who stil celebrate christmas. Its so commercialized now that its no longer a religous holiday for most. Its just that time of year when you have to spend time with your family, buy things for people, and you get some time off of work and/or school.

    And spring break is no longer about easter for most. Its about a family vaction or going to South Beach (if you are in college). Again ,its just that time of year when you know you are gonna get a vacation.

  4. I think in 186, if a student celebrates a religious holiday it is counted as an excused absence. Or that's what I remember from grade + high school.

    Just checked with my teacher GF. A student can be excused from school for religious holidays as long as the parent calls in.

  5. College One5:20 PM

    ... three days sounds good. Or ... maybe four? One for each quarter? Or two ... one for each semester?

    Could you imagine anyone willing to give up their couple of week long breaks for a couple days?

    I dunno how I would even be able to manage having that few of days and still manage to make everyone happy for c-mas, between the 50 bajillion different family events I have to sort out during that time.


  6. No no ... you misunderstood ...

    Students will STILL have winter break and spring break ... in the same way employees still have 2 or 3 weeks of vacation per year.

    But on TOP of that, they'd each be given two or three personal days ... to use for religious holidays or Cubs games or whatever.

    Don't worry ... you'll still have two or three weeks at Christmas to run to every family event in the tri-state area. haha :) We're cooking up extra ones this year ... we're actually *adopting* other families just to make more events.

  7. College One9:04 AM

    Well then DUDE!!! Sign me up!!!!

    Wait... Crap. I'm pass that stage of life anyway :(

    ~College One