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Millburn Parents Push For Hindu Holiday Diwali To Be Added To School Holiday List

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MILLBURN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Some parents in one New Jersey town are fighting to add a Hindu celebration to the list of district-approved school holidays.

As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, Diwali is a major Hindu holiday known as the Festival of Lights.

Many Indian families in the Millburn-Short Hills School District say it should be added to the list of school holidays.

“The kids when they go to school and they see the celebrations for other festivals, they keep asking us why can’t they get a holiday,” one parent told Hsu.

Six-year-old Richa said taking the time to observe Diwali is important.

“Because I get to spend time with my whole family,” she said.

Right now in the district, school is closed for several Jewish and Christian holidays. Parents said the district should be more inclusive.

“Due to the changing demographics in this community, Hinduism is the third largest religion,” Subadhra Sridharan said. “All we are asking is to give our children the same privilege that the other children get.”

Similar fights are going on throughout the country as parents fight to get many different cultural and religious holidays added to the school holiday list in their areas.

The district already has a long list of religious holidays where schools are not closed, but families can request an excused absence.

Some parents, however, said it’s time to wipe the calendar clean.

“Let’s respect everyone and let’s take it all off the table. No religious holidays,” Meisha McAleney told Hsu.

The idea of no school holidays was proposed at this week’s Board of Education meeting in Millburn. The school board now has three options to consider.

“Add them all, take them all off or do something in between with guidelines,” Regina Truitt with the Millburn Board of Education told Hsu.

The Board of Education will meet again in three weeks and hopes to have a final decision by the end of the school year.

Diwali falls in late October this year.

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