New York City Public Schools will soon begin recognizing Muslim holidays, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced Wednesday.
Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year all public schools will close on September 25 in observance of Eid al-Adha. They will also be closed for the end of Ramadan, or Eid al-Fitr.
According to the New York City Department of Education, the change in school calendar will make New York City the largest school district in the country to recognize the two Muslim holidays.
De Blasio stressed in a statement that the calendar will reflect the “strength and diversity” of New York 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,” he said.
De Blasio and Fariña made their official calendar announcement at PS/IS 30 where the New York City DOE says 36 percent of the student body was absent the last time Eid al-Adha fell on a school day.
“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,” Fariña added.
The New York City DOE notes that school districts in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Jersey also already recognize Muslim holiday with school closures.