GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – A new State Senate bill that would give students six more vacation days for religious holidays has advanced to the Senate Education Committee.
Citing growing religious diversity in the state’s schools, Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown) has sponsored a bill that would give students the day off for several religious holidays. The legislation would require closure where individual school districts have at least seven and a half percent of student population, who celebrate that particular religious holiday.
“Many students are forced to take off each year to observe holidays with their families. This bill would finally rectify that. No longer should these holidays come with a sick day for missing classes,” Thomas said.
The holidays included on the list are: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the most important days on the Islamic calendar; Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights each Autumn; Vaisakhi, a religious festival in Sikhism; Onam, an annual Hindu celebration with its origins in the state of Kerala in India; and Good Friday, which starts off the holy Easter weekend for members of the Christian faith.
If passed, it would take effect on the first July date after becoming law. The bill does not include any Native American holidays or holidays from other religions and cultures.
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