Hindus push for Diwali holiday in Atlanta schools

Hindus are urging all Atlanta public, private, charter, and parochial schools to close on their most popular festival Diwali, which falls on October 24 this year. 

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said in a statement that it was simply not fair with Hindu pupils in Atlanta schools as they had to be at school on their most popular festival, while schools were closed around other religious days. 

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said since it was vital for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and would also display how respectful and accommodating these schools were to their faith. 

“If schools had declared holidays around other religious days, why not Diwali,” Zed asked. “Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion,” he said.

Zed said all Atlanta schools should seriously look into declaring Diwali as an official holiday, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education.

Zed urged Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring and Board Chair Eshé P. Collins to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in their schools; and persuading the area private, charter, parochial schools to follow. He also sought the wholehearted support of Georgia’s School Superintendent​​ Richard Woods, Georgia Board of Education Chair Jason Downey, Georgia Independent School Association President Dr. Jeff Jackson and Trustees Chairman Dr. Stuart Gulley, Atlanta Archbishop Gregory John Hartmayer, on this issue. 

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