Community leader pushing for Eid to become a school holiday in Waterbury

Push to add Eid to the school calendar in Waterbury
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 8:03 PM EDT
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WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - When Ramadan starts next week, Muslims across the state will fast and study the Quran for a month leading up to the holiday of Eid.

At least two Connecticut school districts have voted to make Eid a holiday next year.

A local community leader is looking to add the Brass City to that list.

Ask any kid, and they’ll likely tell you one of the best parts of the holiday season is the day off from school.

“We don’t even exist,” said Farooq Syed, a 9th grader.

Well, maybe you can’t ask every kid.

“Why do they get a holiday off but we can’t?” Farooq Syed said.

Farooq is a student in the Waterbury city school district.

His father Fahd is pushing school administrators to give students the day off from class on a major Muslim holiday.

“Eid al-Fitr, F-i-t-r. It’s a celebration at the end of Ramadan,” Fahd Syed said. “I would compare it to being like Thanksgiving and Christmas put together.”

In 2015, the school board voted to recognize Eid as a holiday, meaning major tests, field trips and events would not be planned on that day.

But Fahd Syed wants more for students in a city with four mosques.

“To actually have the day off, to be welcome as anyone else of any other faith,” Fahd Syed said.

Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin said she has a committee that puts together the school calendar each year.

“Sometimes we publish a calendar two years in advance,” Fahd Syed said.

Eid 2023 is April 21, so it’s too late for this year.

Eyewitness News asked Ruffin if she would be open to making it a day off on future calendars.

“I can’t answer that at this time but it’s certainly something that I would consider having a conversation with members of the community on,” Ruffin said.

“It’s not going to cost a city anything. All it’s going to do is just be like a snow day,” said Fahd Syed.

Fahd said he is working with the state chapter of the on American Islamic relations and hopes to petition the school board to vote on the issue.

“We’re in 2023, we’ve got to keep fighting for equality,” Fahd Syed said.