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Holidays: Times of Happiness

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Part of every teenager’s high school is dealing with hardships. Whether it is hard class work, homework or issues with peers, everyday we deal with pressure. One of the difficulties we should never be dealing with however, is religious intolerance. Sadly, evidence of religious intolerance, advertent or inadvertent, appears quite often in our schools, even on the part of the teachers.

In New York City public schools are given vacation time for many holidays. On these holidays the observant practitioner of that religion is busy fulfilling certain obligations that are required on that holiday. The fact that public schools have time off for this holiday is remarkably tolerant, however many teachers use this time off as an opportunity to assign extra homework. I spoke to a teacher recently about this subject and they replied that teachers are required to accept late homework. Although this may seem like a reasonable compromise, many teachers assign even more homework on the day which the students return to school, which can force an observant student to fall behind even more. As a student who practices a religion where writing or using electronics on a holiday is prohibited, even though I am personally not observant, it is very difficult to complete assignments during a holiday.

Yes, it is very important that students continue critical thinking at home as to not lose the rhythm of learning. However to assign homework on a religious holiday and then assign more the day students return, in effect not allowing the observant student to complete the assignment and therefore fall behind, is unreasonable.

Inadvertent religious intolerance occurs frequently in our schools, causing many observant students to fall behind in their homework. This is unreasonable and we all should be more aware, and maybe our high school years will be just a little bit easier.



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