A few words below from a wonderful parent leader I know on Eid holidays and what they mean for Muslim students. – Mirella Rangel
By Reem Mohamed
My name is Reem Mohamed I came to the United States from Sudan in 2007. I am an Oakland parent of a kindergartener, 2nd and 4th grader. I have worked with GO Public Schools as a parent leader in United Families Building Community and am a leader in my own community. I want people in my community to feel comfortable in our city and schools and to know what resources are available.
The Muslim community is one of the fastest-growing student communities in Oakland schools. I hear from many families about the problems my community faces in schools. Because there are few educators who are Muslim or from Arab-speaking countries at our schools currently, our problems are not always recognized or addressed. I want to share a way Oakland educators and schools can recognize Muslim student culture.
The two most important holidays for my community are Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-adha. Eid is a Muslim holiday that occurs two times a year and follows a lunar calendar. Eid is the most important holiday in our religion. Like Christian, Jewish, and other important celebrations, Muslim students may miss school during the Eid celebrations. According to the State of California Education Code 48205, students may miss school for justifiable personal reasons including “observance of a holiday or ceremony of his or her religion.”
As Eid Al-adha approaches in late August and early September, I want educators and schools to tell their Muslim families that students may miss school. Teachers should accept late homework and allow students to re-take tests when students miss school because of Eid.
It is my hope that if schools and school communities demonstrate that they value Muslim and Arab-speaking families, these families will feel safer to share their concerns and challenges in helping their student succeed. Our community is diverse and I believe that we can make all families feel welcome and cared for.