Michigan student sues high school over graduation date on Jewish holiday

Court hearing scheduled for April 20

Pencil on desk. (WDIV)

PORTAGE, Mich. – A high school student has filed a lawsuit against their high school over the scheduled graduation date being scheduled on a Jewish holiday.

A senior at Portage Northern High School has filed a civil lawsuit against their high school as they cannot attend their graduation commencements due to the event being scheduled on the Jewish holiday, Shavuot.

WILX, an NBC station in Lansing, reports that the high school student’s lawyers argue that school administrators are violating the district anti-discrimination policy, the state’s civil rights act, the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution.

Shavuot is a Jewish pilgrimage holiday. The Portage student lawyer is hoping that the school will reschedule the graduation date and receive $25,000 in non-economic damages, along with court costs and fees, according to WILX.

The Lansing station states the lawsuit references a 2017 homecoming dance scheduled during Yom Kippur. The student’s family has sent letters to Portage district officials every year since 2012 to remind the schools not to plan essential educational activities during these religious holidays.

This lawsuit will have a federal court hearing on April 20. WILX reported that a judge had temporarily requested the school to find a new date for the graduation ceremony.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital News Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.