Editor's note: The following is a letter sent to MaryEllen Elia, commissioner of the New York State Education Department.
Dear Ms. Elia,
It has come to my attention that the Somers Central School District has applied for a waiver for rescheduling a snow day on March 30, 2018, and you have denied this waiver.
I feel obligated to complain to you about this misguided decision. I think it is a disgrace and a complete disrespect of our Christian holy day, Good Friday. This day is observed every year in solemn fashion at our home as we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In particular, the hours from noon to 3 are especially solemn: During those hours, we remember Jesus hanging upon the cross. It is so unfitting to think of children being bused to and from school and attending classes on this day. Further, this disregards the religious commitments of many of the district administration, faculty and staff. Surely my own children will not attend school that day, but putting our family and so many others—whether students or employees—in this position on one of our holiest days of the calendar is very insensitive. I am astounded that the State of New York—under your watch—would be so lacking in tolerance and respect for religious observation. When children have school and teachers and staff have to report to work even on Good Friday, I have to ask, who are we as a people in New York? Is there truly nothing sacred?
I would like my voice heard by you, Ms. Elia, the State Education Department commissioner, for an appeal of this decision that affects many Christian families in the district. At a time when the world needs more peace, more respect of religious values, more spiritual families raising reflective children, to schedule school on this somber, high holy day is to treat the day as “business as usual,” surely a symptom of an ailing culture.
I think it is important to not just privately keep my children home but to point out that this is a godless decision and is detrimental to many in our community. As a parent in the district, I request an appeal for this denied waiver.