Broward County Public Schools may give day off for Muslim holiday

April 21, 2023 is Eid ul-Fitr, marking end of Ramadan
Posted at 2:07 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 15:18:11-04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Broward County School Board may give students and staff a day off to mark a Muslim holiday during the 2022/23 school year.

The board is considering four different options for its 2022-23 Broward County Public Schools calendar. Two of the options include April 21, 2023, as a day off. That day is Eid ul-Fitr, a holiday that marks the end of the month-long fasting of Ramadan.

During Tuesday's school board workshop when the calendar was discussed, several parents and members of the Muslim community spoke in favor of the proposal.

One parent said he would like to not have to decide whether his kids attend school or join the rest of the family to celebrate the holiday. He added that the calendar change recognizes their culture as being a part of Broward County's culture and makes them feel the community includes them.

A school district employee who leads the Muslim Student Association at several high schools noted this is something the Muslim community has been advocating for several years, and she hopes to see the board embrace diversity and promote equity.

School district staff members said the calendar does not identify religious holidays, but rather days off align with federal and religious holidays.

Right now, the school district has a survey out to parents, staff and community members asking for feedback on the calendar options. Some board members said they'd like to hear more feedback from teachers on which calendar option they support.

District staff will bring back a calendar proposal to school board members for a vote in December.

The South Florida Muslim Federation released the following statement to WPTV:

"The Muslim Community in South Florida is grateful that the Broward County School Board is making moves towards a more equitable calendar, and taking diversity and inclusion seriously. We applaud the Board for its leadership, and encourage them to see this process to conclusion and make the right decision to have April 21, 2023 as a school holiday. Muslims are part of the South Florida fabric, particularly in Broward County. The Muslim students in Broward, who number around 25,000, should no longer have to choose between enjoying their holiday or attending school."

A spokesperson for the School District of Palm Beach County said there have not been discussions about making a similar calendar change at this time.