Marlborough’s policies do everything in their power to keep the School a secular institution of learning. The School’s programming ignores most major religious holidays, and, while students are allowed to be away from School for religious reasons, the School does not educate the community about religious holidays or traditions. This is a missed opportunity for the School to educate the community with meetings around major holidays that might teach students the meaning and purpose of different religious traditions from the students and faculty who practice said traditions.
Similarly, many students don’t understand why some girls come to school with a black mark on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday.
Rosh Hashanah could be a teaching opportunity filled with circular hallas, apples and honey. And on Ash Wednesday, the community could learn about the historical and spiritual meaning of Lent. The School is not currently doing anything to discriminate against people celebrating these traditions and allows them the freedom needed to practice what they believe, but we’re missing an opportunity. The School should not simply allow students to practice freely but should give students a forum to teach and learn about beliefs.
Students of almost every religion attend this school, and having a forum where students and teachers could answer each other’s questions about what their traditions mean would significantly diminish ignorance on campus. It would even lead to a more cohesive community where everyone understood each others’ beliefs.
While we cannot celebrate every holiday, we could celebrate each religion’s major holidays. The Ramadans, Rosh Hashanahs, and Easters of the year. Simple acts of learning and informing would lead to a more inclusive community with diminished ignorance, and maybe religion would finally stop being such a taboo subject on campus.