Feb. 18, 2016 By Christian Murray
New York City school children who live in Irish communities would be granted a day off school to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day if a Queens State Senator’s bill becomes law.
State Sen. Tony Avella, who represents Northeast Queens, introduced a bill Tuesday that would establish Saint Patrick’s Day as a school holiday in districts with a significant Irish population.
Avella, in a statement, said he was prompted to take action after learning that the New York City parent-teacher conferences would be held on the Irish Saint’s holiday, as it was in 2011 when the 250th annual parade took place. Many teachers were infuriated that they would have to work late during their cultural holiday.
Avella argues that Saint Patrick’s Day should be established as a school holiday, just as many other cultural and religious holidays are, and noted that the Irish community is long overdue for this recognition.
Using the language of the Lunar New Year school holiday bill that unanimously passed the State Senate, Avella introduced his bill that would establish Saint Patrick’s Day as a school holiday in City School Districts of one million or more, with an Irish population of 7.5% or greater.
The bill, which was introduced just two days ago, has yet to get any co-sponsors in the senate and a similar bill has not been introduced into the Assembly.
New York State, according to Avella, has the largest concentrated Irish population in the United States, 12.9%, and New York City itself was the first to host a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 1762, which continues to be one of the most widely attended traditions in the city.
“It is really quite astounding that Saint Patrick’s Day is yet to be recognized as a school holiday in New York, where so many Irish immigrants originally settled and where so many of their descendants still live,” Avella said. “Let us extend the same courtesy to the Irish as we have to so many other cultural and religious groups and let students and teachers alike observe this holiday with their friends and family. It isn’t just time we do this, it is time past due.”
Avella’s bill has the support of some Irish leaders.
“All immigrants in the City and State of New York are entitled to honor their heritage. Recognizing March 17th and the significance to millions of New Yorkers in celebrating the Feast Day of Patrick the Patron Saint…will ensure that generations of students will acknowledge the cultural, spiritual, civic and educational contributions of the Irish to New York,” said Siobhan Dennehy, the executive director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center.
growing up, most of my nyc public school teachers were Jewish. Hardly any problems with the holidays and representations. Now that the Muslims got their day off other groups demand it also.
we even sang songs about God and no one cared back then.
what? I worked for a public school and the district office rep. told us to take down Santa Clause (said no saints). but “Saint” Patrick’s day is ok? makes no sense
I used to love wearing green to school on the day! Green eggs and ham was so special. This sucks!
This only shortens summer vacations! this is what happens when they tried to please the growing population. Every other group that has been around for decades is standing up and trying to represent.
Ridiculous! When will it end?
What is so special about St. Patrick’s Day that warrants a day off from school? Should the kids have off for Cinco De Mayo? So ridiculous, this is NYC and it would be nearly impossible to do justice for all religious/cultural groups!! This is getting completely out of hand.. The schools should follow ONLY official holidays.
Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in China and several Asian countries. Their markets were just shut down for a whole week. To compare St. Patrick’s Day to it is ridiculous.
“Avella argues that Saint Patrick’s Day should be established as a school holiday, just as many other cultural and religious holidays are, and noted that the Irish community is long overdue for this recognition.”
Overdue for recognition? I think this guy has started celebrating st paddys early this year..(hiccup 😉
Working parents can’t take that day off to look after their kids. This political correctness business is out of control!!!!! What about Hatian voodoo day, Korean Armistice Day, Portugal’s Patron Saint Day, Brazilian Carnival Days? Perhaps we should abolish school. Or better, move away!
“Working parents can’t take that day off to look after their kids.”
They are your f$$king kids. Who would you like to look after them?
Talk about political correctness, pot meet kettle.
Working parents have to actually work to afford their children. Adding another holiday that isnt a bank holiday (which is usually what working folks get as holidays) causes undue stress to working families. The parents either need to take off and risk losing pay, or pay for childcare which is clearly more expensive than sending them to school. If it is important to you to celebrate this holiday with your kids and you can take the time off then pull your kids from school for the day. That’s what others do for holidays not recognized by schools like most of the Jewish ones for example. There are different cultural holidays nearly every week of the year, if they work to please everyone there will no longer be school to attend!
You hit the nail on the head.