The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Students and parents express concerns about new school calendar at BOE meeting

Alex Clark
At the D128 Board of Education meeting on Sept. 23, 2023, 23 D128 students, parents, and community members expressed concerns over potential changes to the school calendar that would impact the celebration of religious holidays during the public comment portion that lasted over an hour.

On the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 26, at a regularly scheduled school board meeting at Vernon Hills High School, 23 students, parents, and community members addressed the board during the public comment portion of the meeting. The comments regarded the school calendar and the designation of religious holidays. The speakers expressed concern that a new, operational calendar threatens days off for religious holidays such as Yom Kippur, Eid, and Diwali.

Some of the speakers voiced to the school board that the calendar should align with the district DARING mission.

Concerned that changes to the calendar would eliminate recognizing Eid, LHS senior Ranya Belabbes asked, “Why do I have to beg for a day off?” .

VHHS senior Nate Reckers said that he is “fortunate and privileged to be in a position where I do not have to choose between our religious freedoms and my education,” and went on to say that “the elimination of Jewish holidays and other minority holidays within our school and in the calendar would be disrespectful and inequitable to the individuals who practice these faiths.”

Senior Abid Khan recalled previous calendars when fewer religious holidays were acknowledged, forcing him to decide between studying and partaking in a holiday that is significant to his culture. “Imagine having Christmas with a textbook on the dinner table,” he said.

A Vernon Hills student explained that he comes from a Hindu family that wants to preserve their culture, as well as gain a strong education. He and his family were certain they would have both of these at Vernon Hills when they moved there.

Sophomore Andy Trob said that Yom Kippur is the most holy holiday of the year, and without the day off from school, he “would have to do school work on a body that was hungry and a mind that was tired.”

The mother of an LHS student said, “By taking things off [of] the calendar, we are taking back the fact that these students in each minority matter.”

Many students that spoke up on Tuesday were seniors. Although they would not be affected, these students wanted to make sure that their younger friends, siblings, and future classes would not have to face unnecessary extra challenges because of their culture and religion.

At the conclusion of the public comment portion of the meeting, D128 Board of Education President Mrs. Lisa Hessel commended the involvement in this section of the meeting.

“This is an exemplary example of civic engagement,” Mrs. Hessel said.

As is customary for the public comment portion of the meeting, the Board received these comments but did not respond to them.

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