RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - During the next couple of weeks, schools will be full of cheer as students and teachers anticipate a break…for most a full two weeks which have become sacred (along with a week in the Spring).
Neither inclement weather nor catastrophe's get in the way of this time off. A reasonable question might be, "how did we come to take these breaks at these particular times."
First we know that it is not instructionally driven in elementary and secondary schools…the typical 180-day calendar has no natural breaks in December and April.
In reality, the euphemistically designated Winter and Spring breaks were taken simply and consistently to celebrate Christmas and Easter (even according to Wikipedia)…holy days for the Christian community.
While we clearly need to respect the observance of religious periods such as Hanukkah and cultural commemorations like Kwanzaa, it should not be declared insensitive to note that the breaks in the educational calendar were based upon Christian celebrations.
While this "Season" is focused on "peace and good will toward all men", it also brings annual debates about the display of religious symbols, the singing of religious songs and the expression in public arenas, like schools, of faith and its expression.
While public schools should not be used to proselytize young people to a dogma or faith, they should equally be places where, as a matter of speech, they might acknowledge who and what they are.
It seems that the best way to understand differences is to recognize them…while I too have fallen to the cries of insensitivity, let this seasonal break for our schools be recognized for what it is, Christmas.