A Jewish mother, Lauren Gordon, sent a letter to her daughter’s school in Garland, Texas, asking that she be excused for Yom Kippur.
Gordon told KTVT that the school wanted proof the family is Jewish:
I received a response back that says “Please send documentation from the religious establishment you attended.” That response basically told me that they didn’t believe that we were Jewish. That they needed proof. Honestly, it upset me just as much as it made me angry.
Gordon said she shared her situation on Facebook and the comments started coming in:
Things like this are outrageous, you need to take action. Once my friend started telling me that this is happening to them and that this is not uncommon, I realized it was a bigger issue than just our small school.
I looked also at the code of conduct for Garland ISD, which is GISD’s handbook, and it said that all religious holidays are excused
Andrew Paley, Senior Rabbi at Temple Shalom, added:
It is surprising because that has never been a request from schools until recently. I’m not sure what to make of it yet. It’d be interesting to know its origins and how it came to be.
Gordon said she contacted the principal of her daughter’s school:
She formally apologized, said she did not mean to offend us in any way and moving forward this will never be an issue at her school while she is there.
Gordon said she wants to make sure this won’t be an issue at other schools either:
If I have to go to every school district in North Texas to get them to get this I will do that.
Garland ISD confirmed this instance was a mistake and a note from a parent is all students need for religious holiday to be counted as an excused absence.