Hindu Community seek Diwali holiday in New Jersey and New York Public Schools
Hindu community is urging schools in Cherry Hill Public Schools (CHPS) in New Jersey and New Hyde Park-Garden City Park (NHP-GCP) School District in New York to stay closed on Diwali; the most popular of their festivals; starting 2021.
Distinguished Hindu leader Rajan Zed is urging Lisa Saidel and Dr. Joseph Meloche, Board President, and Superintendent respectively of CHPS headquartered in Cherry Hill and Jennifer Kerrane and Dr. Jennifer Morrison, Board President and Superintendent respectively of NHP-GCP School District headquartered in New Hyde Park, to adopt Diwali as an official holiday on their 2021-2022 school year calendar and beyond.
Zed pointed out that it would be a step in the positive direction in view of the presence of a substantial number of Hindu students in CHPS and NHP-GCP School District; as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these pupils. Some school districts in New Jersey and various other US states had reportedly declared Diwali as a holiday in the past.
Zed, who is President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that schools should make efforts to accommodate the religious requirements of Hindu students and show respect to their faith by not conducting regular business and scheduling classes on Diwali.
Rajan Zed requested the two School Districts to seriously look into declaring Diwali as an official holiday, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.