Montgomery Co. can’t close schools just because it’s a holiday

WASHINGTON – A request to close Montgomery County schools on two Muslim holidays may not be so easy to fulfill.

During Eid al-Fitr at the end of the Muslim holy month Ramadan, followers are asked to provide charity. It’s one of two Muslim holidays when Montgomery County schools would be closed, if Councilmember George Leventhal’s request is granted.

Maryland schools cannot close solely for religious holidays, attorney Rochelle Eisenberg, of Towson-based Pessin Katz Law P.A., tells The Gazette. Closing decisions must be based on attendance rates of students and staff.

The other Muslim holiday that school officials are being asked to recognize is Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice.

Leventhal says it’s a matter of religious fairness to the county’s Muslims. Schools are already closed on some religious holidays, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Dana Tofig has said the board would consider Leventhal’s request.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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