Maine School District Adds Islamic Holidays to Calendar

Muslim students in Lewiston Maine will be finally enjoying `Eid vacations normally after the district added the Islamic holidays to the public schools calendar.  

“We will no longer have to ask kids to choose between their school and their faith,” Superintendent Jake Langlais said, Sun Journal reported.

The School Committee voted 8-1 on Monday night to recognize the two festivals as significant events for the city’s Muslim community.

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The Islamic Hijri Calendar is a lunar one, thus the observance of `Eid Al-Fitr revolves throughout the seasons.

“We have the ability to communicate with our community the time frames in which `Eid could be recognized and then broadcast it out for a holiday school closure,” Langlais wrote in a memo to the School Committee.

“This may create some complications, but we find ways to make it work for other holidays,” he said.

Inclusion & Belonging

Ayesha Hall, equity resource officer for Lewiston Public Schools, said the change celebrated the diversity of the community.

“It’s about celebrating the diversity of (Lewiston Public Schools). We have to make sure we are honoring diversity with action,” Hall said.

“Belonging to a community means I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine,” she said.

Other committee members also welcomed the decision.

“This is a long-overdue change and I’m thrilled (Langlais) brought it forward,” committee member Kiernan Majerus-Collins said.

“This makes Lewiston a welcoming place where people will feel ownership, dignity and respect.”

Lewiston is not the first school district to recognize the Muslim holiday’s in its school calendar.

In April 2019, the Detroit school district announced it would be recognizing the Muslim holiday of `Eid Al-Fitr during its adoption of the 2019-20 school year calendar.

The Baltimore County Board of Education approved unanimously in November, 2019, to close public schools for students on `Eid holidays when they land on a school day.