Religious excused absences have been extended in public schools under the new law
Delaware students will soon have more freedom to be exempted from school for religious holidays.
Delaware schools have not had explicit state guidelines on excusing students for religious purposes, State Senator Laura Sturgeon (D-Hockessin), herself a teacher, said students of minority faiths, like Muslim students, often have to work on these excuses. with their teachers individually.
State senators have passed a bill granting every student of every religion permission to be excused for religious holidays.
Some Republican senators have expressed concern that students could take extended absences under this bill, such as for Ramadan.
“Ramadan is not a public holiday, it is a holy month, so you wouldn’t expect a student to ask for a whole month off – just like most students don’t ask for Lent. or other periods of holiness in other religions, ”she said.
It is State Representative Madinah Wilson-Anton (D-Christina), the main sponsor of the bill who came to the Senate session last week to support her bill. Wilson-Anton is a practicing Muslim and the first elected to the state legislature.
Other Republicans including Sen. Colin Bonini (R-South Dover) challenged an amendment ordering the Education Secretary to create a list of religious holidays to guide school districts, which Bonini says is in conflict with religious freedom.
“I think passing this bill might start to lead to failure to protect people’s religious freedoms because my religion is not on the list, and I know you just said that is a orientation, but the education secretary put it on the list and someone else is saying religion is offensive to my religion, ”he said. “And why are we involved in this? “
The bill has also received bipartisan praise for helping those who previously could not celebrate their religious holidays outside of school.
Senator Spiros Mantzavinos (D-Elsmere) says that being a Greek Orthodox Christian whose vacation does not correspond to Western Christianity, it is nice to see a bill that gives flexibility to students.
The bill passed by 17 votes to 1, with 3 Republican senators not voting. He is now heading to Governor Carney’s office for his signature.