Help Wayland students fight to get Lunar New Year's recognized as an official holiday.

Help Wayland students fight to get Lunar New Year's recognized as an official holiday.

February 8, 2022
Petition to
Wayland Public Schools and
This petition made change with 760 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Jordynn Lee

We need your support to make Lunar New Year an official holiday at Wayland Public Schools. Our school district does not view Lunar New Year as a legitimate holiday. To all the teachers and students of Wayland Public Schools, Tuesday, February 1, 2022 was not special in any way. When you looked around our campus, you could see the chit-chat of the Talent Show and many students carrying their belongings in anything but a backpack. It appeared to be a typical day to most – except it wasn’t to some. It was the start to the Lunar New Year. WPS scheduled WinterFest that week, so taking a day off from school would mean that we miss out on special events meant to showcase our talents as well as support and bond with our peers. It also means that teachers are allowed to assign us homework to complete, tests and quizzes to study for, and papers and projects to work on. The district’s refusal to acknowledge Lunar New Year as an official holiday also means that students who are absent are marked as such from school. For many students and their parents, this is a mark that they don’t want to see on their transcript.

So why isn’t Lunar New Year officially recognized as a holiday in Wayland? Is it because Asian American students aren’t seen as official members of the student body, faculty, or staff, even though we make up nearly 15% of the student population? Is it because students with Chinese, Korean, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Malaysian among other ethnicities aren’t considered as important as other students in Wayland? Or is it because WPS thinks Asian Americans are “Model Minorities” and will just do business as usual without question?

Did you know that there are several districts that recognize Lunar New Year as an important, official holiday? Since 2016, New York City Public Schools have closed in observance of Lunar New Year. Many districts including Boston and Andover list Lunar New Year as a Major Religious & Cultural Holiday on their district calendar thereby notifying their teachers to not assign homework, tests, quizzes, or projects on or around that day. They allow students who celebrate Lunar New Year to take the day off from school without penalty. This year, Brookline Public Schools marked Lunar New Year as a Category 1 holiday for the first time, a significant recognition for their Asian American community. Most recently, Hopkinton Public Schools voted to make Lunar New Year an official, no-school holiday. Hopkinton’s Asian American student population is reportedly only 11.4% per recent American Community Survey data, less than Wayland’s.

A friend from Brookline was able to take the day off from school without feeling any academic pressures. Meanwhile, Wayland boasts about being welcoming, accepting, and inclusive to its “diverse” community. WHS did absolutely nothing to even acknowledge the most important holiday in our culture. There weren’t any announcements made from the administration wishing those who celebrate a healthy and prosperous year. There aren’t any posters celebrating the traditions or artwork of the many cultures that observe this holiday. None of the teachers nor students offered wishes of a happy new year to us, our siblings, or friends. The only thing we did receive were funny looks and questions about why we were wearing a Qipao, Tangzhuang, or Cheongsam.

We believe that Wayland Public Schools should acknowledge this very important holiday. Practicing our traditions with our families helps us to remember our roots, respect our cultures, and appreciate all that we have. In the wake of a horrific year for Asian Americans nationwide, it is important to educate others about our cultures. Enhancing student understanding and education will help eradicate the ignorance that often perpetuates hatred, bigotry, and racism. It will help our community feel more accepted and a meaningful part of the Wayland student body. There are many students in our town and schools who celebrate the Lunar New Year and would appreciate a day off to spend with their families, just as we do during the Gregorian New Year. More importantly, we should not feel pressure to go to school to avoid falling behind or being penalized in any way for celebrating our culture. Recognizing Lunar New Year is one step toward ending the disparity that Asian Americans often experience. It validates that our culture can also be part of American society.

Thank you,
Jordynn & Eunjee


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