The letter below was sent today.
Dear Dr. Baldwin and CHCCS Board,
Both of my children attend McDougle Elementary. We absolutely love McDougle and deeply respect the teachers and staff. They take very good care of our children which we are thankful for every day.
I am writing now to share with you how disappointed and hurt we are that you scheduled an inclement weather make-up day on September 19.
September 19 was Yom Kippur – the holiest day on our Jewish calendar.
It is a day that my family spent in synagogue. To summarize the day, we atone for mistakes, remember loved ones who have passed, and prepare for a productive year.
The night before on September 18th, my son was extremely anxious about missing school the next day because his class was scheduled to take the BOG (Beginning of Grade) test. He repeatedly expressed his concerns that he would be missing something important at school even though we shared that observing Yom Kippur is also important and that there would be a make up test day.
On the 19th, upon leaving synagogue, I attempted to speak with my children about the service and significance of the holiday and my son immediately expressed worry that he missed the BOG. At a time we should have been discussing the messages heard at shul, my son was worried about missing a test at school.
I ask you to consider, would the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools ever schedule the BOGs on Easter or Christmas? Would it be okay if students spent Christmas or Easter worrying about missing school and missing a test?
What message does it send to the community when on the day of “the big test,” most of the Jewish students and teachers are not in school? Scheduling school and the BOGs on Yom Kippur marginalized the Jewish minority in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools and put Jewish families and staff in the position of choosing between their faith and their school.
Scheduling school and the BOGs on Yom Kippur is not consistent with the CHCCS Equity Vision and Value Statements and negatively impacted my family’s religious observance. Please do much better and please show greater respect to the minority Jewish community.