Hindus are urging Coppell Independent School District (CISD) in suburban Dallas, with 47.4% students Asian, to proclaim official holiday on Diwali, most popular of Hindu festivals.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada said that Diwali holiday in CISD would be a step in the positive direction in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students in the District; as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these pupils.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that CISD should seriously and speedily work towards declaring Diwali (which falls on November seven in 2018) as a holiday, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make CISD students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.
Diwali fell on October 19 in 2017 and six New York school districts declared holiday for students on October 19, which included: East Meadow School District, East Williston Union Free School District, Half Hollow Hills Central School District, Herricks Union Free School District, Hicksville Union Free School District and Syosset Central School District. Mineola Union Free School District announced that no home work or examinations would be given on Diwali, reports suggest.
For 2017 in New Jersey; Glen Rock Public Schools announced closure of schools and offices on Diwali; in West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, schools were closed on October 19; and in Piscataway Township Schools, there was “No School for Students” on Diwali. And recently Millburn Township Public Schools announced Diwali day off for students for the next three years, reports add.
In 2017 Unionville-Chadds Ford School District headquartered in Kennett Square in Pennsylvania approved closure of schools on Diwali; while Harvard Public Schools in Massachusetts declared October 19 as “early release day”, reports note.
Rajan Zed further said that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, we did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and would also display how respectful and accommodating CISD was to their faith.
Zed indicates that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
“High-performing and innovative” CISD, whose tagline is “Empowering Educational Excellence”, serves 12635 students in 16 schools in 23 square miles area covering Coppell, Valley Ranch, Grapevine, North Irving, and Dallas (Cypress Waters). Tracy Fisher and Brad Hunt are Board President and Superintendent respectively of CISD, whose Mission includes “develop strong moral character”. There was a school in the Coppell area as early as the 1870s.