Detroit schools are closed for Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr, in 2020

Lori Higgins, Detroit Chalkbeat

Published 8:00 a.m. ET April 20, 2019 Updated 2:26 p.m. ET April 20, 2019

For the first time in its history, a Detroit school district will recognize a Muslim holiday.

The school board accepted Tuesday with the calendar for the 2019-20 school year including the observance of Eid al-Fitr on 25 May, 2020, which would be a day off for Remembrance Day, and on 26 May, 2020 (recommendation). professional development day for teachers). It will give students more time to look at the holiday that ends with Ramadan.

Compliance day was one of the highlights of the new calendar, including early to school year, more teacher training days, a shorter mid-winter break and several days taken at the end of the academic year for days. snow .

Muslim students are urging officers to identify Eid holidays, such as other areas nearby, such as Dearborn Public Schools, Crestwood School District and Hamtramck Public Schools.

Among those who praised the free day were Mohammad Muntakim, sophomore by Cass Technical High School and president of the school's Muslim Student Association, who noted in a piece of opinion in January in the Free Press that the area already recognizes other religious holidays own.

Like most areas, Detroit usually schedule free time in December, around Christmas. The area usually scheduled the spring break to coincide with Holy Christian Week which takes place before Easter, although this year did not happen.

“In contrast, Muslims are obliged to miss the school to commemorate our sacred holidays, although the area has a large population of Muslim students,” he wrote. “This means we are behind our classmates, and we are forced to come up with anything more than look at our religious holidays.”

Of the Eid Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr comes only on a school day during the 2019-20 academic year.

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The board's decision recognizes “the diversity of our school community and is a way of celebrating that diversity,” said Rima Meroueh, advocacy and community participation manager at the Economic and Social Services Arab Community Center, located in Dearborn.

But the decision is also important on two other sides, she said. Normally, Muslim students say a few days from school to identify the holiday.

“It reduces the likelihood that children and their parents have to choose between their faith and education,” said Meroueh.

The decision is also important, she said, when Muslim students are hearing more than Muslim hearings.

“This provides our Muslim-American children with a critical message that they belong to this, that they are important.” T

Other highlights of the calendar include: t

  • The week-long school year begins on August 26, marking the first time in the years pupils return in August. For teachers, the first day is back 19 August.
  • The last day of school is 12 June, although this may go in next week if the area is needed to make the time due to snow days.
  • The calendar includes five days professional development during the week before the start of the school year and a further five days spread during the school year.
  • February 17-18 will reduce the mid-winter break, which is usually February in February, to two days.

A few teachers spoke against the additional teacher development days in the calendar. Among them were Benjamin Royal, who said that she needed Detroit teachers, who noticed that they were paid less than their counterparts in neighboring areas, it was wrong to develop extra days for professional development.

“This is a second class treatment. That is unacceptable, ”Royal said.

Chalkbeat published this story, a non-profit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here:

Lori Higgins is a former educational reporter for the Free Press. Contact Higgins at

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