A meeting held last week to determine whether a city’s schools should be closed for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha reportedly got heated, with security guards having to intervene (video below).
The Jersey City school board decided on Sept. 17 that it would not be closing its schools Sept. 24 for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
“The concern voiced by most of the board members was that it was too short notice for parents to make arrangements if school was closed next week,” said Jersey City Schools Superintendent Marcia Lyles, according to NJ.com. “However, they expressed a commitment to pursuing ways to demonstrate how much we respect all of our cultures.”
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Jessica Abdelnabbi Berrocal, who initiated a petition for the holiday to be instated, disagreed with this explanation.
“That [short notice] is not the complete truth. The Board of Education has have [sic] received letters since 3 years ago,” she told NJ.com on Sept.19. “This battle has been going on for 25 years... We the people believe in our rights that the constitution have gave us and we will stand up for our rights. I will not back down.”
Children will still be able to take the day off as an approved religious absence, meaning they won’t face any penalties, The Blaze reported.
“The board was very reluctant in its vote. It was a split vote,” Maryann Dickar, Lyles’ Chief of Staff, said. “Their real concerns were the impact it would have on some of these families [who need childcare]… We have a high poverty community. Many of our parents have jobs where if they wont go to work they don't get paid.”
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The decision during the meeting reportedly provoked anger from some, and security was asked to remove someone, the Blaze reported.
“We feel alienated from the Board of Education, we feel alienated from this system,” Omar Abouelkhair told NBC New York.
“We’re going to be the majority soon,” another added.
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