The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Opinion: All religious holidays have a place in our community

Marlena Reinshagen
While they are recognized and acknowledged in schools with announcements and emails, most religions don’t get weeks or even days off school that align with holidays, with the exception of Christmas.

You practice a religion other than Christianity. Now you have work to do!

Schools should accommodate religious holidays other than Christmas by cutting days from longer breaks and replacing them with one-day breaks on other religiously recognized days or by having minimum days. They should limit the instructional time missed by students who celebrate them.

One of the most important parts of these religious holidays is the demonstration of religious devotion and spending time with those around you with the same faith. While doing this, students shouldn’t have to worry about the school work that they would have to make up later.

The First Amendment provides United States citizens the right to practice any religion they would like, but knowing the consequences of religious holidays on school days limits that freedom for students.

According to Pew Research Center, the percentage of Christians in America has been declining. Between 2009 and 2019, the number of Christian Americans decreased from 77% to 65%; in 2021, the number was lower again at 63%. 

Although Christianity is still the most common religion in the United States, the percentage of people who believe in other faiths like Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism has increased, and the religious scope of the United States is still projected to change, according to Pew Research Center.

While the number of people who believe in the less common faiths is significantly lower than those who believe in Christianity, accommodating their religious practices is just as important. Like a smaller grade category in a class that students would still pay attention to, the smaller religious groups still need to be considered. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, accommodations for religious practices are required upon notice as long as there are no unnecessary difficulties that would come as a result. Educational environments like schools are meant to prepare students for real-world scenarios like workplaces, so they should also demonstrate policies and requirements regarding basic freedoms. 

Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) already has schedules outside of the regular one very frequently, so rearranging or rescheduling the weeks with different schedules would allow more accessible accommodations for religious holidays.  

SUHSD has also canceled school days on short notice due to power outages and other inconveniences, and the speed of instruction was still able to recover, so students and educators could still recover from minimum days or days with later start times. 

Longer school breaks already last well over a week, and decreasing the duration by one or two days, or even taking one or two days off summer, can be used to compensate for the one-day breaks or schedule changes that would be made. The 2023-2024 school year for SUHSD began on a Wednesday, so if the year started on a Monday, the two extra days would allow for accommodations later in the school year.

The specific dates of religious holidays can be determined beforehand, so while making the master schedule for each school year, school districts can consider the placement of the changes in scheduling. 

Additionally, not all religious holidays need a full day off. Part of the Islamic Eid celebration occurs in the morning with the prayer, so late-start days could accommodate that practice. The students could then continue religious celebrations on their own time, finding a middle ground with the school.

Respecting the time students take to celebrate religious holidays needs to be considered when making schedules for each school year to allow students to be more present and have better times at their celebrations and at school.

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About the Contributors
Kerem Olgun, Staff Writer
Kerem Olgun (Class of 2026) enjoys running, playing bass, robotics, and spending time with his friends. He covers campus news and wants to learn about the culture on campus and expand his knowledge in news writing and journalism. You can find him exploring new interests on campus, hanging out with friends, or training for his next race.
Marlena Reinshagen, Staff Writer
Marlena Reinshagen (Class of 2026) is in her sophomore year at Carlmont and is a Staff Writer for Scot Scoop. She loves writing about culture and art and spends a lot of her free time drawing. Outside of school, you can find her singing, drawing, reading, and attempting to bake overly complex food.

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