The Jersey City Board of Education voted last week not to close schools for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, one of the most important holidays for Muslims.
School board members in New Jersey made their decision Thursday despite appeals from Muslim attendees who showed up to advocate that the board change the school schedule.
At one point, things became so heated that an official urged security to “take charge” of the situation. At least one person was seen on video being escorted from the meeting.
“We feel alienated from the Board of Education, we feel alienated from this system,” Omar Abouelkhair told WNBC-TV.
“We’re going to be the majority soon,” another said.
But board member Gerald Lyons suggested there is a perfectly valid reason for having school on Thursday, telling residents that closing school with just six days’ notice would cause “undue hardship” for 5,000 to 10,000 parents who might not have anywhere else to send their kids.
Lyons also reminded that students can still take the day off as an excused religious absence, meaning they would not face a penalty for doing so. Others noted that the school does not let out for the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
The controversy came in the first year that schools in New York City will not have classes Thursday, the result of a decision made by Mayor Bill de Blasio last March, WNBC reported.
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