The district said it’s making a good faith effort to gather opinions from a diverse group of parents, while the Muslim community said it is already being left out.

A new school district survey, along with an explanatory cover letter, will be arriving in 4,000 mailboxes today. It’s asking parents a number of questions like which religious holidays should close schools.

The list includes Jewish holidays Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and Muslim holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Steve Hegarty with Hillsborough County schools calls the survey representative and scientific.

“We are making quite an effort to get as much feedback as we can beforehand,” Hegarty said. “I think that one of the things that people reacted to last year was that they had the perception that this was a done deal way before it was.”

Hegarty is talking about national media pressure last fall when the Muslim community demanded at least one of its major religious holidays be recognized with a district wide day off. But, that never happened.

Although no decisions have been made yet for the 2007-2008 school calendar, the Muslim community already feels left out of the process.

Ahmed Bedier with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) calls the survey flawed.

“The district doesn’t track the religion of students, so how are they going to find a diverse religious sample that represents an entire county?” Bedier said.


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