Carlmont’s prom was originally scheduled on the first night of Passover, but after a student-initiated petition gained over 1,500 supporters, principal Ralph Crame agreed to change it to May 27, according to Alyssa Feigelson, the sophomore who started the campaign.
This brought up the questions of religious awareness in schools, since many projects and tests are scheduled on religious holidays.
On the East Coast and Los Angeles, where there are large non-Christian populations, school districts take Christian, Jewish and recently started taking Muslim holidays off if they have high religious diversity (around 1 percent or higher of the population per religion in America).
“Throughout a lot of those districts, you have a higher percentage of students who are going to miss school on those days,” said Spanish teacher Edith Salvatore, who is president of the Sequoia District Teacher Association (SDTA).
The SDTA tries to set the calendar to accommodate students’ needs, despite wanting their own needs to be prioritized.
“[Students] can’t be working on their schoolwork when they’re at synagogue,” Salvatore said.
The annual dance show was originally scheduled for the first night of Passover on April 23, traditionally reserved for a long dinner with family and friends. However, the dance instructor didn’t need a petition to change the date to April 15 and 16.
“We want to try to accommodate as many students, so that all could participate,” dance teacher Taylor White said. “We don’t want to eliminate one group and not the other.”
On Eid al-Adha, senior Kubilay Agi couldn’t take the day to pray, eat and celebrate with his family and community because he had a math test.
“In this country we don’t have holidays for [people] other than Christians,” Agi said.
Like Agi, senior Ariele Ladabaum went into school on the first day of Rosh Hashanah in the morning because those classes were hard to miss.
“Even missing one day definitely has an impact,“ Ladabaum said. To not fall even further behind than she already was, she studied during Yom Kippur, which she took off school.