School policy accused of being discriminatory against non-Christians

COLLIERVILLE, TN (WMC) - A student at Collierville High School started a petition after having to choose between attending school and celebrating a religious holiday.

The freshman said a school policy allows students with high grades in a class to skip the final exam if they have less than a certain number of excused absences.

The student said for Christian students, there's no school for holidays like Good Friday and Christmas. But for her Islamic holidays, she has to use an excused absence like a sick day.

District officials heard her complaint, and now they are considering a change to the policy.

Thurman Ward, who lives nearby, said Christian holidays are already recognized nationwide, so other religions should be able to have that same inclusion.

"As Americans, we should support that as well. It's all about diversity," Ward said.

District officials said even if the school decides to change the policy, it would not take affect this school year.

The possible change could be proposed in June, so the review won't happen until at least July.

But Ward said it's good that the school is at least promising to take a look at the policy.

"We get trapped behind labels," Ward said. "That's kind of where we put up a wall; that's where we stand behind that wall. If it's not me, if it's not affecting me directly, I don't need to learn anything about it."

Xavien Hughes said because this is a public school with students with different backgrounds, there shouldn't be a sole emphasis on one religion.

"It's not a Christian school or a Muslim school, it's for all," Hughes said.

Some people we spoke to--including a spokesperson for Collierville Schools--declined to comment citing their Christian beliefs as a reason for not speaking on the topic.

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