Download: Should public schools remove religious holidays from the calendar?

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MONTGOMERY CO., Maryland — Presented with the opportunity to recognize a Muslim holiday on the school calendar for the first time, leaders of Maryland’s largest school district went a different direction: They removed all mention of religious holidays from the calendar.

Many school districts nationwide don’t spell out religious holidays on the calendar, having replaced “Christmas Break” with the secular “Winter Break.”

But school officials in Montgomery County, Maryland, a wealthy and diverse Washington suburb, are being criticized for the impetus behind their decision: a push by Muslims to close schools on the Eid holy days.

Board chairman Phil Kauffman says the board faced “a no-win decision” during its vote on Tuesday. Christians and Jews are upset at the removal of their holidays from the calendar, and Muslims are upset that theirs weren’t included.

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