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Avon School Board Reviews Religious Holidays Scheduling Policy

The board is giving the proposed revisions a first read and will discuss the suggested changes at its Tuesday meeting at 7 p.m.

The Board of Education is considering revisions to its policy addressing what can be scheduled on religious holidays.

The board reviewed the Policy Subcommittee's recommendations at its Tuesday night meeting as a first read.

The subcommittee asked to review the policy because of confusion at the high school during the past two years about the specifics of it, Avon Superintendent Gary Mala said.

For instance, the esteemed Wickham Park Cross Country Invitational fell on Yom Kippur in 2011. Avon High School runners did not compete because of the district policy barring sports teams from scheduling games and meets on religious holidays.

"The referenced event was reflected upon during discussion at the Policy Subcommittee meetings where this policy and suggested revisions have been discussed," Mala wrote in an email to Patch when asked if the situation factored into the policy revision discussions.

Policy 2003 was adopted in 1983 and ammended ten years ago. It currently states that administrators and teachers should "facilitate students' observation of religious holidays by scheduling sports, social, or other extra-curricular activities on days other than religious holy days."

Additionally the school district has not held school on the first day of Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur since 1993, school officials previously said.

Before the board votes on a policy changes, the members are required to go over it at two meetings, Mala said.

The revised policy stating how "teachers and administrators will facilitate students’ observation of religious holidays" includes the following adjustments:

Policy 2003

Current Policy Wording Proposed Revision "Scheduling no examinations, written or oral reports, or other mandatory class assignments on religious holy days." 1. "Scheduling no examinations, written or oral reports, other mandatory class assignments, athletic competitions or practices and any group meetings of non-athletic extracurricuar groups on religious holidays as recognized in the approved school calendar."
2. Added: "Scheduling no examinations, written or oral reports or other mandatory class assignments on the day following the religious holidays as recognized in the approved school calendar." 2. "Providing ample opportunity for students to make up work that they have missed on religious holidays without penalty." 3. "Providing opportunity for students to make up work that they have missed on religious holidays without penalty." 3. Scheduling sports, social or other extra-curricular activities on days other than religious holy days. 4. "Annually, the Superintendent of Schools shall communicate corresponding administrative regulations to staff to insure compliance with the policy."

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