Shawnee Mission will reschedule SMNW, SMN Homecoming dates after conflict with Yom Kippur

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When Joyce Rosenberg went to check her kids’ school schedule for the coming semester, she felt like throwing up her hands in exasperation.

The Shawnee Mission Northwest Homecoming football game and dance were set to be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29 and 30 — the same days as Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, which families mark with a day of fasting and religious services. Rosenberg has two children who will be students at SM Northwest this coming year, and her youngest will be in the marching band. She had been hoping the whole family would have been able to come out to support her freshman son during the Homecoming game performance.

“I just felt like, ‘Okay, really?'” she said Wednesday night. “You really can’t do both, so we’ll have to choose.”

And Jewish families at SM Northwest weren’t the only ones who would have been affected by the scheduling conflict. Shawnee Mission North’s Homecoming game and dance were set for the weekend of Sept. 29 as well.

However, it now appears that Jewish families at SM Northwest and SM North won’t have to wrestle with the conflicted schedules after all.

The district hasn’t addressed how the scheduling error came about — public districts typically receive notice from the local Jewish Community Relations Bureau and American Jewish Committee each year about the scheduling of Jewish holidays — but it did take action to address the conflict once the issue came to administrators’ attention earlier this week. The principals from SM Northwest and SM North met with Marvin Szneler of the JCRB this morning to discuss the best way to address the situation.

“After the district became aware of this conversation in our community, we immediately wanted to take the action necessary to ensure that we were serving all our students,” said Interim Shawnee Mission Superintendent Kenny Southwick. “We had a wonderful discussion today with our partners at the Jewish Relations Bureau, and they provided advice on impacts for our Jewish students. With deep respect for all religious and cultural issues, the district will be changing those homecoming dates for both SMNW and SMN. ”

Southwick said the dates for the rescheduled Homecomings hasn’t been set, but that the district should be able to announce it in the near future.

“[I]t was never the intention of the district to overlap any religious celebrations and our homecoming events,” he said.