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Teachers Battle Over Good Friday Observance

Teachers Battle Over Good Friday Observance

A school district in Rhode Island is sparking a national debate over how schools should handle the religious observance of Good Friday as a holiday.

The Cranston Teachers' Alliance “is in the process of suing the Cranston School District after outrage over being denied requests off to observe the religious holiday,” according to an article on WPRI.com.

"According to the teachers’ union, the school department denied nearly 200 Christian teachers’ requests to have Good Friday off, in part because of scheduling problems related to snow days," the article said. 

The Alliance took the matter to court, and "an order signed on Friday by Superior Court Judge Brian Van Couyghen and both parties prohibits the school district from denying leave requests for Good Friday, April 3, or taking any disciplinary action against those who ask for the day off as long as they put in their request by Wednesday," according to an article on Providence Journal.com.

The article said that “in order to deal with the possibility of a shortage in staff on Good Friday, Cranston Superintendent Dr. Judith Lundsten may have to resort to closing schools anyways.”

"Lundsten said they are looking at several options, including closing some schools and not others, bringing in substitutes, and using other personnel," said an article on 630WPRO.com.

The article said that parents won't know the outcome until 6:15 a.m. Friday morning, sparking a separate debate and outrage at Cranston School District's handling of the matter.

"This year marks the first in at least 25 years that Cranston schools have had class on religious holidays like Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Good Friday," the article said, but will likely not be a precedent. "Lundsten said they will look next week at the school calendar and reinstating days off for holy days. Lundsten said she will present several scenarios to the School Committee, who will in turn consider the calendar and present it to the public the following week for consideration."

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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