MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland’s largest public school district faces criticism for changing next year’s calendar. It will include no mention of any holiday, even when schools are closed on those days.

Mary Bubala has more.

The change in the Montgomery County school calendar came as Muslim students and parents asked for their most important holiday, Eid, as a day off.

“The Muslim community is the only one who has to choose between education and religion,” said one.

And Muslim students will still have to do that, as the school board did not grant their holiday a day off in the calendar. They then voted to eliminate references to religious holidays from the calendar altogether.

The words, “Christmas,” “Easter,” “Yom Kippur” and others will be erased from next year’s school calendar and substituted with terms like “Winter break” and “Spring break.”

“That’s really what many other school systems—New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta…it’s really the norm,” a school official said.

Still, the decision has upset parents of all religious faiths.

“We did not ask for Christmas to be removed; we did not ask for the Jewish holidays to be removed from the calendar,” said one.

“The reality is, we are still closed for Christmas; we are still closed for Yom Kippur,” said one.

Muslims are about 10% of the population in Montgomery County. Students and their parents have been fighting for a decade to get their holiday off.

School officials in Montgomery County say their policy is to give excused absences to students who miss classes for religious holidays.

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