School Events Should Not be Scheduled on Religious Holidays



Caera Learmonth

SunDancers get ready to kick while they perform their halftime routine. They are the varsity dance team, and their show being scheduled on a Jewish holiday has caused some controversy.

Growing up Jewish, I’ve had countless tests and school events scheduled on major Jewish holidays. Though I am used to this, it thoroughly shocked me to find the SunDancers yearly dance showcase, Escapade, scheduled on Passover, one of the more important Jewish holidays.

Passover is a major Jewish holiday, where we celebrate the ancient Hebrews being freed from slavery in Egypt. Families come together and have a feast, each food resembling certain aspects in the story of Passover.

As a SunDancer manager, I am required to attend Escapade, and while I am happy to help out my team, I am also faced with a difficult decision- do I have my Passover Seder or do I follow through with a commitment to my team? Even though the holiday will look different during the pandemic this year, I still look forward to spending the day cooking, and getting to keep the traditions that come with my favorite holiday.

The team itself does not make all the scheduling decisions, as Escapade includes other dance groups to perform a dance at the showcase. The problem is with the district, allowing these holidays to be ignored, and allowing major events to be scheduled on major holidays for non-Christian religions. This makes students wonder if their beliefs are as important as their peers.

Westwood High School is a diverse school, and while Christians do outnumber members of other religions, why should we have to make these sacrifices? Christmas and Easter are always acknowledged by the school district, and events are never scheduled on these holidays. So why should non-Christians have to decide whether to observe holidays or attend important school events?

In my opinion, Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) should not allow the more major school events to be scheduled on the most important holidays to other religions. While I’m sure the district doesn’t intend on hurting other communities, this is still very harmful to the students and families that have to make these sacrifices. It is unjust to make many students face these difficult decisions based on their beliefs and academics, while others never have to make these compromises.

In the future, I hope the district can make a change, so that students no longer have to compromise their religious beliefs in order to keep their school related commitments. School is supposed to be a safe place, where students can be themselves no matter what their beliefs are. Why should we feel unsafe in our community, when we should be able to embrace our diversity?