A request by Sen. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Prince George's County) to allow Jewish teachers in the county's schools to take leave on the Jewish High Holidays in September had not been acted on by the board of education when the holiday began this week.
In an Aug. 23 letter to Board Chairman Norman H. Saunders, Hoyer asked the board to adopt a new policy as soon as possible to allow Jewish teachers in the county's schools to take leave on Rosh Hashanah, celebrated on Sept. 13 and 14, and Yom Kippur, celebrated on Sept. 22.
Under present regulations, Jewish teachers must use their three days personal leave time for the religious observance. Sen. Hoyer said the board's policy, "albeit unintentional, is . . . unfair and inequitable to the Jewish teachers in our county school system.
"As you know," Sen. Hoyer wrote, "teachers of other religious faiths who celebrate the important religious holidays of Christmas and Easter fortunately do not have to utilize their personal leave for such observance."
Sen. Hoyer said the three days personal leave to which each teacher is entitled per school year was not intended to be used for religious observances. The only other excused absence with pay that is allowed is 15 days of sick leave each school year.Hoyer said he did not believe that sick days should be use for such ovservances because it would encourage a distortion of the purpose and use of sick leave.