All religions deserve discussion

As winter weather swirls into Virginia, an inevitable whirlwind of religious celebrations follow.  The diversity Fairfax County represents means the school system must do its best to remain politically correct, a feat it accomplishes poorly.

Public school events cannot be affiliated with any religion, and classroom discussion of characters such as Santa is curbed.  The county and, more specifically, the school, have taken a sheltered approach to religious diversity, discouraging any discussion of winter time religious celebrations.  A better approach would be to encourage open discussion of religious holidays and traditions, promoting a learning environment in which students can grow to respect and understand each other.  In an official email sent to Robinson teachers the Fairfax county school system stated that “we strive to maintain learning and working environments that promote inclusion and awareness.”  In theory the county does promote awareness, but in practice, their minimal efforts do not go the distance.

Furthermore, if students evaluate the calendar, it becomes immediately clear that student holidays are all centered around mainstream Christian holidays.  Without close investigation, one might wonder why the school promotes political correctness while only acknowledging Christian holidays.  With a closer examination of the calendar it becomes clear the school system has its constituents’ best interests a heart.  FCPS breaks take place when the rest of the country has them off, around mainstream holidays, for planning purposes.  When all practical considerations such as the overwhelming majority of Christians, family planning, and school restrictions.

Still, those students who miss school for less prevalent holidays, such as Rosh Hashanah, and must make up work they missed feel the burn of being a minority.  To help to alleviate this inevitable wrong, the school system should actively and enthusiastically promote discussion of the topic of religion.  After all, how many students know what the holiday Eid celebrates, or what Rosh Hashanah is?  The school offers courses such as IB world religions; however the class is an IB elective and only attracts a certain kind of student.  Ice Fest is a huge opportunity to incorporate a religious diversity day, celebrating all religions that students celebrate, whether or not they have winter- centered holidays.  Bring the words such as Diwali, Passover, and Ramadan out of the shadows and into the mix.   To the betterment of all students, our schools should promote the discussion of religious difference in English and History classes, and religious education for all.