Give Students and Teachers Days Off On Jewish Holidays In NUSD Schools

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Jewish students and teachers enrolled in schools in Novato Unified School District are having to take days off in order to observe their holidays. For teachers, these days off are taken from the small number of "sick days" they have to begin with. Because of this, Jewish teachers often use up their sick days just from observing their holidays - which leaves them with no days off in the event that they do get sick. This makes it so teachers are either staying home and losing money that they need in order to provide for themselves and/or their family, or going to work and risking getting young students and their co-workers ill.

For students, while these absences are considered "excused", they are still missing out on vital education and the opportunity to ask questions or learn from their peers. Many teachers often treat these absences as though the student was merely taking off of school to go to the mall, which can and has lead to a number of problems. If the teacher does not believe the observation of a religious holiday is a good reason to take off from school, they will likely have a negative attitude towards the student. This can lead to a lack of help on the teacher's side regarding making up the missed work, as well as the student feeling excluded and guilty for doing something that was important to them. Students are generally penalized for missing school, unless they were incredibly ill and ran the risk of getting other students sick. There is no reason why a student should have to miss out on their education and be made to feel guilty all for observing a religious holiday.

Students and teachers get a "winter break" holiday from December 24 to January 4 in 2018-2019. This is a two week break for a one day holiday, Christmas. However, this year, Hanukkah starts on December 2 and ends on December 10. There is no break or single day off during that time - which means that those observing this holiday would have to take nine days off from school. Students and teachers observing a one-day Christmas get a hefty two week break in order to do so, yet those observing an eight-day Hanukkah get no days off.

For many Jewish holidays, fasting is a large part. Fasting is "the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time." If a student or teacher is fasting for a holiday, their mental and physical well being will be thrown off. Students should not be expected to perform well academically or physically when they are fasting, and teachers should not be expected to be able to teach when they are fasting. Fasting not only takes a toll on a person's mental and physical health, but it is often a very intimate and special event. A person who is fasting for a religious holiday should be allowed to be in their home, or their place of prayer, or wherever they are comfortable - they should not be persuaded into being in a non-intimate setting for the sake of their "sick days" or absences. 

The Jewish Culture Club at Novato High School needs your help. By signing this petition, you are helping the Jewish students and teachers at Novato Unified School District have their holidays off. They will not need to take days off from school and run the risk of losing money, losing out on education, being singled out by teachers or bosses, and more.

The Jewish Culture Club will be speaking to the administration at their own school and, with your help, the school board of NUSD. They will show the board that there are Jewish students in their schools, and they demand change.

Thank you for your help. Just one signature makes a huge difference. Help join the cause and fight for Jewish rights!

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