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On Sept. 13, the Parkway School Board voted to move both North and Central’s graduation date to Tuesday, May 15 and Thursday, May 17, respectively, as to not interfere with Sabbath on a Saturday night.
Originally, some people in the Jewish community were upset about the date planned for Parkway School District’s graduation. All Parkway high schools’ graduations were planned to take place on Saturday, May 19, which is the Jewish Sabbath. In the Jewish community the Sabbath, which is a holy day, begins Friday evening and goes through Saturday at sundown.
“I’m glad now that they realized and made the decision to switch it after many people voiced their problems. I think that it is great that they are recognizing that there are people of many different religions and cultures and trying to meet the needs as best as possible of all different people,” said junior Jillian Wolfman.
Jewish people who observe or attend the Sabbath in the traditional sense do not work or drive during that time meaning driving to the graduation would be out of the question.
The principal of Central High met with local Rabbis in early August to get their input on the decision. The Rabbis advised against it saying it would create a conflict for Jewish people.
“The Board knew about this before they made the decision, so I have no idea why they went that far and then went back,” said senior Emily Goldstein.
Graduation is typically set in Queeny Park on a Tuesday or Thursday but the school board switched the location to St. Charles Family Arena to save money and because Queeny attendees often walked a long distance from cars to the ceremony along gravel roads and over hills. Also, there is limited seating at Queeny Park, so not all people would be able to fit.
On Thursday night Sept. 7, 2017, the school board met to talk about changing the date for Parkways’ graduations. Since Central has the largest Jewish population and North has the second largest population, parents were concerned and wanted to speak out. Board members tabled their decision for the time being.
“[I am] not a conservative Jew but worry about others and the way they feel. We stand together when others are down,” said senior Alyssa Shteyn.
The Parkway School District had finally decided to switch the dates to accommodate Jewish people since two schools were complaining to the board.
On Wednesday, the School Board apologized to Jewish students about their actions. The board promised to revisit the Saturday date for all schools in the future.
by Ellie Canizares, staff writer