Thirty citizens were present at the November 1, 2012 meeting of the Broward School Board Diversity Committee to speak against adding the Muslim Eid holidays to the school calendar.
According to citizen journalist Danita Kilcullen, “Roland Foulkes, President of the Broward School Board Diversity Committee, made-up all the rules before the meeting, e.g., that there would be two proponents of the proposal and two opponents, 3 minutes each, and the opponents would go first. Opponents fought to speak after the entire proposal was heard and speak in response to the proponents.”
I should be noted that Foulkes earlier this year brought Nazar Hamze to the Broward Republican Executive Committee for membership. That effort was defeated in a vote from the floor.
“Then a committee member made a motion to give 4 minutes for the proposal to be read, then another asked for 10 minutes. The committee voted to give the bringer-of-the-proposal 10 minutes. The woman who brought the proposal was Gazala Salaam, Communications Relations Director for CAIR Florida.
Just before she spoke, one committee member noted that there are no religious holidays in the Broward County School system. ‘Just ‘days-off.’ Roland forgot all about that and in making his case for Muslim holidays said, ‘The Christians have their religious holidays and Jews have their religious holidays,’ to which an opponent yelled, ‘Your member just told us that there ARE NO religious holidays!’
Gazala reiterated that ‘they are not asking for religious holidays, just equality in an ever-growing Muslim population.’, Gazala painted Muslims out to be victims of prejudice and inequity.”
The primary fight was for equal time as the delivery of the proposal plus the two proponents of the proposal, which would allow opponents sixteen minutes instead of six. The committee finally voted and gave both side sufficient time to speak.
“Joe Kaufman, former candidate for the U.S. Congress, was first to speak. He minced no words about his background, who CAIR is and their proven connections to terror and terror groups. In sixteen minutes the committee heard from six opponents who had prepared speeches, ending with Reverend Dozier who had one minute left to make his point,” reports Kilcullen.
Reports are that emotions were raw and there was yelling and screaming following the pros and cons. Time to end the meeting was extended twice and citizens were there until 9:30 p.m. rather than normal end time of 8:30 p.m.
Kilcullen states, “Most of the committee voted to NOT VOTE on the issue saying that it had been crammed-in and was too important and that more research needed to be done.”
Kilcullen writes, “The race card was played several times. There are two elderly black ladies on the committee who lived through the civil rights era; one of them cried as she related that time, and equated it to the CAIR demand for two holidays on the school calendar. Proponents spoke about past history. Opponents talked about recent history post 9/11/2001.”
The following email was received from a member of the Broward County School Board:
Thank you for your email regarding our school calendar.
The proposed change you are commenting on was brought forward by the Chair of the Diversity Committee. Any request to change the school calendar must first go through the Calendar Committee. The 2013-2014 Calendar has already been workshopped and does not include those days.
The District does not provide days off for religious holidays. Days off are scheduled based on statistical data indicating days during which there is a high rate of teacher and student absenteeism.
If you wish to comment further on this topic, go to — www.browardschools.com – click on firstname.lastname@example.org. This will give you an opportunity to email directly to our Calendar Committee.
I appreciate, and thank you for your interest in Broward County Public schools.
Robin Bartleman, School Board Member
Countywide At Large Seat 9
The School Board of Broward County
600 SE Third Ave., 14th Floor
Fort Lauderdale FL 33301