South Asian residents want Diwali to be official Coppell ISD holiday

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An online petition is making its rounds on the internet to request that Coppell ISD make Diwali, a Hindu holiday, an official holiday.

According to the Coppell Gazette, University of North Texas associate professor Pankaj Jain met with Coppell Superintendent of Schools Brad Hunt to request the district adds the holiday to the school calendar and make it an early release day.

Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights that happens every year in the fall. This year it will be on Thursday, October 19. It's observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.

Some say the festival is as important to Hindus as Christmas holiday is to Christians.

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Part of the petition reads: 

When Diwali comes around each year, often times on a weekday, too many students are faced with a difficult decision -- observe this religious holiday and risk missing important school work and activities, or forego their observance altogether because the curricular cost is simply too much. 

According to Coppell ISD, Asian students make up 44% of the student body.

The petition states a number of districts across the country have already adopted Diwali as an official school holiday. 

Currently it has 1,001 signatures and needs 499 to reach its goal of 1,500.

It closes by requesting that the Coppell ISD board makes a decision to recognize the importance of this holiday to the parents and students of the South Asian community in Coppell and allow families to observe the holiday without affecting their studies.

To read the petition in its entirety, click here.