Taking a Day off to Pray: Closing Schools for Religious Observance in Increasingly Diverse Schools
Leadership and Higher Education
States and public schools across the Nation consistently debate the number of days students must be in attendance, the length of the day, and the configuration of those days to maximize learning opportunities. Establishing the school calendar within each state’s statutory minimum can be challenging as many states still maintain somewhat traditional (albeit antiquated) calendars, which commence the school year around Labor Day and conclude shortly after June begins.1 Public schools are generally in session for 180 school days. Some states have been more creative in their scheduling by reducing the number of days required of student attendance in favor of expanded school days, citing reduced costs. Attempting to schedule 180 school days in the period of late August through early June does not provide schools with much flexibility should they be required to close for exigent circumstances such as inclement weather. Providing students with additional days off for holidays and religious observances only increases the complexity of meeting the required number of school days in a respective state given these calendar constraints.
Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal
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