Lunar New Year Should be School Holiday, Pols Say

By Tom Liddy | January 22, 2012 6:39pm 

MANHATTAN — A pair of local politicians are calling for the Asian Lunar New Year to be an official school holiday.

The event, which will be observed Monday for the Year of the Dragon, is the "Asian community's most important and greatest holiday," according to the letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, signed by state Assemblywoman Grace Meng and state Senator Daniel Squadron.

The electeds say that some 14 percent of the 1 million children in the city school system are Asian American.

"According to Asian customs, all the members of a family gather together on the eve of the New Year to prepare a giant feast and perform certain rites," they wrote.

"Because of these important customs, a school holiday would allow Asian American children to celebrate the holiday with their families."

Currently, the Lunar New Year is treated as an excused absence, but remains an absence on the student's record and "results in the student missing class," the note said.

Meng, who represents Flushing, and Squadron, who represents Chinatown, are the principal sponsors of a bill that would make the Asian Lunar New Year a school holiday.

But they are also suggesting that the city could independently designate the New Year as a school holiday or professional development day.