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Avella introduces bill to make Saint Patrick’s Day school holiday

By Gabriel Rom

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has introduced a bill that would establish Saint Patrick’s Day as a school holiday in districts with a significant Irish population.

The move comes on the heels of the recognition of Ramadan and the Lunar New Year as school holidays. After the Department of Education announced that parent-teacher conferences would be held once again on the Irish holiday, as DOE did in 2011 during the 250th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade parade, members of the Irish community petitioned Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña to change the date.

Using the language of the Lunar New Year school holiday bill that unanimously passed the State Senate, Avella introduced a 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 percent or greater.

New York state has the largest concentrated Irish population in the United States at 12.9 percent, 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. “It isn’t just time we do this, it is time past due.”

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at [email protected]cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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