The reasons for closing school to allow people of various cultures and backgrounds to celebrate their holidays.

Anika Aggarwal

Staff Writer

In a school as diverse as American High, why shouldn’t we acknowledge some of the holidays that people so greatly value here?

     According to US News, over 87% of American High School’s students are from minority backgrounds. Over 71% are Asian or Pacific Islander, 8.2% are Hispanic, 3.2% are two or more races, 3.1% are black, and 0.2% are American Indian/Alaska Native. With a majority Asian population, it would make sense to have a break for holidays like Lunar New Year and Diwali, especially when celebrating these holidays involve major celebrations within their countries of origin. Many schools across the country shut down school for cultural holidays, and few have as high of a minority population as American. A school with a large non-Christian-holiday-celebrating population’s schedule still revolves around Christian holidays. 

     Although some may take an excused absence in order to celebrate, having to make up all the assignments may be an even greater hassle than showing up to class and completing all the work in a timely manner. Having a school day off rather than just allowing students to skip school would truly celebrate diversity rather than just tolerating it. It would show that people care.

     It’s hard for minority cultures to ask for accommodations. The political culture in America puts pressure on people to conform to the “norm” and be grateful for what they already have, without ever daring to ask for more. No one’s differences should be seen as a burden. People shouldn’t be forced to assimilate into the majority’s culture. All people should be allowed to celebrate their own holidays and cultures.

     Having a break for holidays speaks about who’s cultures are valued and whose are not. Otherwise, people are forced to assimilate. Even if many do not celebrate certain cultural holidays, many people do not celebrate national holidays either. Many federally recognized holidays allow people to simply take time off without specific ceremonies or festivities taking place.

     Some argue that there would be too many breaks in school because of the multitude of holidays celebrated by the student body. The slippery slope is a logical fallacy. The schedule must simply be reevaluated in order to reflect the diversity of the student body, and currently, there are no accommodations to account for the demographics.

     In a democracy, the structure of society should represent the majority while protecting the minority’s wishes. Currently, even the majority isn’t being represented.

Image Credit: Santiago Mejia/The Chronicle 2020
Lunar New Year Parade in San Francisco

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