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Queens senator signs on to make St. Patrick’s Day an official holiday for NYC schools

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Photo: Dean Moses

With St. Patrick’s Day less than a week away, a Queens lawmaker wants to make the day a school holiday.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow schools to recognize March 17 as an official holiday. The bill has already been approved by the State Senate Education Committee.

“In 2014, New York state approved a law to enable the Board of Education to determine whether holding classes on days associated with religious or cultural holidays would waste educational resources when significantly fewer students attend school,” Addabbo said. “With the city’s large population of Irish-American students, families and educational staff, closing schools for St. Patrick’s Day seems to make both cultural and economic sense.”

Under the legislation, schools in New York City could close on St. Patrick’s Day in recognition of the significant Irish-American population in the five boroughs and not be penalized by a loss of state school aid.

“With New York City’s large and vibrant Irish-American population, it makes sense to close local schools on a day that is traditionally reserved for celebration, cultural appreciation, and religious observance by many people of Irish descent,” Addabbo said. “Areas of my Senate district encompassing the Rockaway Peninsula have been referred to as the ‘Irish Riviera,’ and I can attest that from Breezy Point throughout the eastern communities on the peninsula, the grand tradition of Irish cultural pride is an integral part of family life. On March 3, in fact, the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Cultural Committee held its 43rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Rockaway – an event that everyone, Irish or not, comes together to enjoy.”

The Rockaways aren’t the only ones celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, of course. On March 4, Sunnyside and Woodside held their 19th St. Pat’s for All Parade. For the first time ever, Bayside will be hosting their own St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 24.

“We need only to look at these gatherings – which draw enormous crowds every year and contribute significantly to our local economies – to know that just about everyone is a little bit Irish in New York City this time of year,” Addabbo said. “I hope our educational community will soon be able to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day as a school holiday and officially join in celebrating our city’s many ties with the Emerald Isle.”

The legislation is set to be reviewed by the state Senate for consideration.

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