Brice: Bristol Warren schools will be closed for Rosh Hashanah

Superintendent issues directive that he says overrules school committee's earlier vote to open on holy day

By Ted Hayes
Posted 7/19/21

Bristol Warren schools will be closed on Rosh Hashanah this fall, after Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Brice issued a directive Monday afternoon that overrules the school committee's earlier vote to …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Brice: Bristol Warren schools will be closed for Rosh Hashanah

Superintendent issues directive that he says overrules school committee's earlier vote to open on holy day

Posted

Bristol Warren schools will be closed on Rosh Hashanah this fall, after Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Brice issued a directive Monday afternoon that overrules the school committee's earlier vote to start school on the Jewish Holy Day, which this year falls on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

Dr. Brice, who this Spring recommended that classes start Wednesday, Sept. 8, said he has the authority to overrule the school committee, which in May disregarded his recommendation and voted to start classes on the Jewish Holy Day.

"I have the ability to open and close schools any day," he said. "While I have to advise the school committee, I do not have to get their permission."

The committee's decision to modify the superintendent's recommended starting date has created a statewide firestorm in recent weeks, with the teachers' union, Jewish groups and many parents and students coming out against starting classes on Rosh Hashanah.

The school committee was expected to reconsider that starting date at tonight's meeting. But Dr. Brice said his directive now makes that unnecessary:

"At least we can get this resolved," he said.

The superintendent's statement reads:

Schools are places where all children and staff must feel supported and included.  The discussion about the opening of the 2021-2022 school year and whether or not school should be closed for Rosh Hashanah highlights the importance of cultural diversity.  We must ensure that our school calendar meets the RIDE requirements but also supports the varied religious and culturally significant dates that our community recognizes.  These significant dates should be reviewed each year for their relevance and practical considerations.  It is important that for this year Rosh Hashanah be observed just as Good Friday is observed. My original calendar had the first day of school beginning on September 8th, 2021, and this recommendation should have been accepted.

As Superintendent, I am issuing the directive that the Bristol Warren Regional School District’s calendar be adjusted so that the first full day of school for all students and staff is September 8, 2021, and the last day is June 17, 2022. This decision does not resolve the broader issue of why some religious holidays are observed while others are not.  It is my hope that next year consideration will be given to making sure that the calendar represents the practical and cultural observances for our community.

 

 

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.