SCHOOL HOLIDAYS FOR DIWALI AND EID?
Kevin Thomas spent part of his childhood in Dubai and remembers having school holidays for Diwali and Eid. But when he came to America with his parents at age 10, he had to attend school on those special days, along with his Hindu and Muslim classmates.
So Thomas, now a state senator in New York, has introduced a bill that would facilitate school holidays for Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs and others. As long as a school district’s population is made up of at least 7.5 percent of a particular religious or cultural group, it would be permitted to allow students from that group to treat significant days such as Diwali or Vaisakhi as school holidays.
“When I was campaigning I told the large crowds of South Asians I would do this,” Thomas, the first Indian-American to serve in the New York State Senate, told Desi Talk. “And that’s what I’m doing … keeping my promise.”
Suhag Shukla, executive director of Hindu American Foundation, told Desi Talk that the bill is important because it helps educate teachers about religious and cultural holidays. “That way, at the very least, teachers avoid scheduling exams or major projects’ due dates on those particular days.”
Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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