Indian-American community hailed the decision by Howard County Public School System, which manages 71 schools and serves nearly 50,000 students, as 'historic'.

"I am extremely pleased by the Board's ability to discuss and unanimously agree to seek ways to recognise the diverse backgrounds of Howard County's students and families," Board of Education Chairwoman Christine O'Connor said in a statement after the eight member board unanimously supported such a motion.

The motion in this regard as proposed by board member Janet Siddiqui. HAF and Chinmaya Mission started a petition that collected over 250 signatures in under three weeks, while the Board received nearly 500 emails from parents asking for inclusion of Diwali.

Indian Students at Centennial High School (ISAC) also collected and submitted signatures for the effort, said Balaji, who along with several Chinmaya Mission members, testified at the Board's hearing last month.

According to Baltimore Sun, as of the 2014-2015 school year, 42 per cent of Howard County students were white, 22 percent were black, 19 per cent were Asian, nine per cent were Hispanic and six per cent were of two or more races.

The school system does not record the religious backgrounds of its students, it said.

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