From next fall, schools in the Waterbury School District will not schedule tests, field trips, or major school events on Muslim holy days.
A petition with more than 300 signatures saw the Waterbury Board of Education voting on respecting two Muslim holy days. Fahd Syed stated he was happy his children wouldn’t have to choose between education and religion.
He said, “Growing up in Waterbury myself and going to school here, I missed a trip because of the holiday. I had to choose my faith and I didn’t go to the trip. That was in the third grade at Washington Elementary.”
Syed, who has four children, is happy the new generation of Muslims learning in the Waterbury School District will not have to choose between exams and religious beliefs. Board of Education President Charles Stango stated that this was exactly the goal of the vote.
Stango said, “We were approached about this, and we thought about it, and honored it.”
The district sent out a memo stating that schools would be shut down for the two Muslim holidays. Superintendent Dr. Cathleen Ouellette stated that the aim was to show respect for the Muslim culture.
She said, “A sensitivity memo will go out to the district to teachers and staff, asking them to be sensitive to the Muslim holidays in regards to scheduling assessments and major events that happen through the district.”
This is the first time this kind of decision has been made in Connecticut.