Two Jewish holidays removed from school calendar

2 Jewish holidays removed from school calendar in Farmington
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 8:53 PM EST
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FARMINGTON, Conn. (WFSB) - A decision made this week by the Farmington Board of Education is drawing controversy.

At Monday’s meeting, the board made changes to two Jewish holidays.

Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah will no longer be days off for the district.

Chairman Liz Fitzsimmons said the board considered many factors including, operational impact (ex. faculty/staff absences), student absences, state and federal law, and issues related to the extension of the school year.

Fitzsimmons said the board reached a unanimous vote that they felt was in the best interest of their students.

“They should be allowed to take off, and welcomed to take off, those days with every accommodation, meaning, not be penalized whether an employee or student,” said David Waren, CEO Hartford Jewish Federation.

David Waren says tests and field trips should be avoided on religious holidays.

Farmington resident Suraj Kurtakuti is disappointed by another board decision.

The board rejected making Diwali, which is celebrated by South Asians, a school holiday.

“Avon, our next door neighbors, added it. So it’s kind of left people scratching their heads a little,” said Suraj.

Farmington’s Asian population has grown substantially.

By adding Diwali, the board felt it would have to consider requests for Three Kings Day and Muslim holidays.

Rocky Hill, Newington and South Windsor recognize Diwali as a school holiday.

It’s up to each school district to decide which holidays to recognize.

The board said it would revisit discussions for school holidays next year before approving the 2024 calendar.