WEST LINN, OR (KPTV) - In a time where many organizations are making changes for equity and inclusion, a group in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District is voicing its concerns over next year's first day of school.

The district's first day of school for the 2021-2022 academic year falls on Rosh Hashanah, one of the most important Jewish holidays.

"It's a very somber and introspective time," district parent, Michelle Bombet Minch said. "And on Rosh Hashanah we don't work, we don't go to school we spend the day in synagogue."

Community raising concerns over school year start date conflicting with Jewish holiday

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Bombet Minch says in the past Jewish students have had to choose, whether to go to school or attend services and are often a marginalized group.

Community raising concerns over school year start date conflicting with Jewish holiday

KPTV file image

"When have we school happening on Christmas Day? I don't remember it ever happening, I don't think it ever will," Bombet Minch said.

But she's hoping next year after a pandemic that won't have to happen on the first day of school.

"You know I think about my own son in particular who will be a senior. You know the first day back to school after experiencing what he's experienced - and for all kids you know it might be the kindergartener who this is going to be their very first day of school but they won't be able to go. They will be in synagogue," Bombet Minch said. "When we're talking about equity and inclusion there's no better time for us to be considering this."

Bombet Minch wrote a letter to the school board which also included dozens of signatures from parents and community members asking for that consideration.

In addition to that letter, she also submitted a petition to change next year's start date with 1100 signatures from parents, community members and clergy.

In a school board meeting on March 8th, it acknowledged that letter.

But board members didn't discuss anything more on the issue.

On Tuesday West Linn-Wilsonville School District Board Chair Regan Molatore sent this to FOX 12:

"Since adopting a school calendar in late February, the School Board has received input from stakeholders regarding the first day of school. The Board will continue to listen to our community and its feedback to better understand any and all concerns that are raised."

Whatever the district decides, Bombet Minch wants to be clear this is about equity for everyone.

"We really are asking that districts take a pause and recognize not just the Jewish community but other communities," Bombet Minch said.

Late Tuesday afternoon parents and community members met with the district.

It's unclear if the district will make any changes.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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