Service of Work and Calendars

February 29th, 2016

Categories: Uncategorized


Calendar with holidaysIf people would just consult a calendar before arranging for any event they’d save a lot of time and angst. But the New York City school system person in charge of scheduling parent teacher meetings didn’t bother and chose March 17. He/she must be fresh from elsewhere as most New Yorkers know that’s St. Patrick’s Day [or maybe this was the only day her boss was free].

One teacher, according to Noel Baker with the, “lodged the legal challenge with the New York City Human Rights Commission after he claimed the timing of the meeting would mean he would miss the city’s parade.” According to Baker the teacher, Frank J Schorn, is also vice-president of the Emerald Isle Immigration Centre where his lawyer is chair.

St. Patrick's DayWrote Baker, the lawyer said “The scheduling of the conferences on the most sacred day for Irish Americans not only interferes with the religious observance of the many Irish-American school teachers and administrators employed by the Department of Education, it similarly interferes with the rights of the parents of children enrolled in the New York City school system and that they also must make a choice between discussing their child’s scholastic progress or observing a religious feast day.” notes that Schorn’s lawyers “have requested an injunction preventing the conference and future conferences from going ahead on St Patrick’s Day” and quotes  Schorn as saying “The insensitive scheduling of parent-teacher meetings on March 17th has put me in an untenable position of choosing between my ethnic and religious heritage and my duty to help my students. I foresee being prevented from attending any Irish cultural events on March 17th.”

Isn’t Easter the most sacred day for Catholics Irish American or otherwise? Is a parade and meeting to celebrate with friends and family religious? Should a teacher take off from work to watch a parade? Haven’t most working grownups had to miss holiday events due to work schedules or deadlines? Do you think that the New York City school system should cave and change the date for parent/teacher meetings?


8 Responses to “Service of Work and Calendars”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    Saint Patrick’s a religious holiday? It’s a drinking day with SRO in bars not churches. Over and above that, those of Irish descent show up at work that day just like everyone else. It is NOT and never was known as a “sacred” day, but is one which celebrates the life of a popular 5th Century saint who allegedly chased all the snakes from Ireland. If someone managed to bamboozle his way into an ill deserved holiday, good for him. Chances are he will be found wassailing in the local tavern.

    He should have been fired on the spot, and if fortunate enough to find further employment, will see the wisdom of respecting his job as opposed to the worship of John Barleycorn!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    When I think of St. Patrick’s Day in NYC I equate it to Bastille Day, the Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue [that a Jewish friend of ours who looks stunning in hats has rarely missed joining], the Greek Independence Day Parade, Puerto Rican Day Parade and so forth. It’s a happy occasion for those who love a mega-party. I have a green shirt that I love wearing that day and I don’t have an ounce of Irish in me. I also happen to love Ireland!

    The party like nature of the day in NYC differs, according to an article I just saw in the Washington Times “With over 34.5 million Americans claiming Irish or partially Irish heritage, St. Patrick’s Day has become a celebration of Irish-American culture in the U.S., with plenty of green beer and corned beef and cabbage for revelers — Irish or not.

    “But for the 4.7 million people living in Ireland, holiday traditions have been different. St. Patrick’s Day for centuries has been a religious holiday that involved much more sobriety than debauchery.”

    If this is accurate, then the lawyer is right about religious holiday but not here, where the teacher works–in Ireland!

  3. Kathleen Said:

    There are only two kinds of people on St. Patrick’s Day –those who are Irish and those who wish they were.
    Seriously, though, we probably need to know more about the background of the meeting. If it’s the only time possible, then it should be held. But if transferring it to another day is no hassle, then why not. It does sound like a tempest in a teapot. — with Irish tea, of course!

  4. hb Said:

    St. Patrick’s day is obviously not a holiday, but just as obviously many Irish and copycats, teachers and parents alike, are going to be AWOL if you schedule meetings on March 17th. Why do it? you’re inviting trouble. However, it’s got nothing to do with lawyers and legal holidays. Getting them involved just wastes time and money.

    This reminds me of a story. A Genoese friend of mine, Checho Bo, was an Italian P.O.W. in the States during World War II who volunteered for service in an all volunteer regiment of Italian P.O.W.s fighting on the allied side late in the war. As a company commander, he discovered on the night they were due to sail for Europe, a big secret supposedly known only the brass, that half his men had gone AWOL to celebrate a last night on the town. When his American regimental commander discovered their absence, he was aghast. Checho pleaded with him to do nothing. and assured him that, while being Italians, the were not too good at obeying rules, they would all be back in the morning. The Colonel did just that, and to his astonishment (and Checho’s secret relief) they all were.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Of course Irish tea! I agree: Change the date if it’s no biggie and doesn’t cost a fortune in reprinting posters, postcard reminders and such though I suspect much is communicated to parents by email or text at little cost. Also, I couldn’t find anything that told me why the school system chose the 17th. As hb pointed out, it’s a stick in the eye perhaps for no reason–or did a foreigner to NYC not look at the calendar nor did his/her supervisor?

    However if a fellow needs to hire a lawyer, it doesn’t look as though the date is an easy thing to change. One wonders what the real agenda might be, if any.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Charming story, the moral of which is “pick your battles” with a big dash of “keep your fingers crossed.” As I wrote in my response to Kathleen, might there be another agenda behind the change the date fight? In addition, how much does teacher absence cost the NYC public school system for any unofficial celebration day? [I can’t put my finger on why I prefer “teacher” to “educator.”]

    The Mayor closed our schools for Chinese New Years. Will St. Patrick’s Day be next? Cheers!

  7. David Reich Said:

    Whether or not it’s a religious holiday here, it IS an important celebration of heritage for Irish-Americans. Certainly another date could be found so there’s not a conflict. It’s not about religious freedom, but about common sense and courtesy.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree that the whole city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, an excuse to party, eat green food, drink green beer and act silly in public places and that city organizations or others that hope to attract a crowd for non-St. Patrick’s activities had best stay clear of the date.

    A few hairs on the back of my neck stood up because the lawyer invoked religion which caused me to react with a large “You kidding me?” I also think it’s sad that someone has to bring in legal backup to be taken seriously in a matter like this.

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