Greenbelt Interfaith News
    Washington Brief

    July 31, 1997

    Jewish Teacher Loses Fight to Prevent Schools from Closing on Christian Holidays

    Easter is a secular as well as a religious holiday, U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. ruled on July 2 in a case brought by a Jewish teacher in Montgomery County. Judith M. Koenick had filed suit against the county school board because of its policy of declaring school holidays on the Christian holy day of Good Friday and on the Monday after Easter. The teacher noted that she was required to use personal leave days or leave without pay when she observed certain days of the Jewish holiday of Passover. She argued that the county was showing preference for one religion over another.

    According to The Washington Post, Judge Williams ruled that the school holidays have a secular purpose. "The long weekend surrounding the largely secularized holiday of Easter not only serves the ends of pragmatism and efficiency in school administration but also provides an anchor for the yearly spring break enjoyed by students and faculty," he said.

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    ©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson