New York City public schools were closed Thursday in observance of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. According to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, this was the first time the New York City School system closed schools for a Muslim holiday. The schools were also closed on Wednesday for the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday.
De Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña previously announced that New York City would become the largest school district in the nation to recognize two Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, on the official school calendar.
The mayor and the Schools Chancellor made this announcement at PS/IS 30 in Brooklyn, where 36 percent of students were absent the last time Eid al-Adha fell on an instructional day.
The New York City schools serve 1.1 million students and join other school districts in states like Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey that close their public schools in observance of Muslim holidays.
Muslim students represent nearly 10 percent of the overall public school enrollment, the mayor’s office says.
“We made a pledge to families that we would change our school calendar to reflect the strength and diversity of our city. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim families will no longer have to choose between honoring the most sacred days on their calendar or attending school. This is a common sense change, and one that recognizes our growing Muslim community and honors its contributions to our City,” said de Blasio.
“We are committed to having a school calendar that reflects and honors the extraordinary diversity of our students,” Fariña said. “Muslim students and their families who observe Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha shouldn’t have to choose between an instructional day and their religious obligations. This new addition will also enable a teachable moment in the classroom for our students to learn about religious tolerance and the societal contributions of various cultures.”