The family of 18-year-old Minaleah Koffron claims that over the past ten years, they have communicated with the Portage Public Schools—a school division in southern Michigan about halfway between Chicago and Detroit—via letters, phone calls, and in-person meetings to provide advance notice of Jewish holiday schedules.
This year’s Portage Northern High School graduation is still scheduled for Friday, May 26—the first day of Shavuos.
The holiday begins on Thursday, May 25, and lasts through Saturday, May 27, at sunset.
“My religious identification is not as essential as the identities of Christian students at my school, and that has been and still is the clear message. I am a lesser citizen in the eyes of the school district, said Koffron, who will have to skip her graduation.
On April 6, the first day of Passover, she was also forced to miss the junior prom.
According to the Koffron family, Nate Ledlow expressed concern about receiving “300 furious emails” from other parents when they met to discuss the issue on March 3.
He promised to look at alternative dates.
In a follow-up meeting on March 8, Ledlow allegedly admitted that he had never intended to discuss rearranging dates and wouldn’t do so without a directive from the district superintendent.
“Even if it was a mistake to schedule graduation on a Jewish holy day, it was not a mistake to maintain it,” stated Koffron.
She filed a lawsuit, claiming the principal had violated the state, federal, and civil rights constitutions and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. With arguments scheduled for May 12, a court approved a restraining order.