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Stranger than Fiction: School on MLK Day?
posted by: Alix | January 14, 2011, 04:05 PM   

We've had a brutal winter on the east coast this year, causing countless snow days especially in the ill-prepared southern part of the country. A few schools that have experienced too many snow days are landing national attention for their proposed way of making up instructional time. Schools near Charlotte, North Carolina, have decided to make up for lost time by teaching on the Martin Luther King holiday, drawing criticism from the NAACP.

Due to a winter storm earlier in the week, district officials cancelled the pre-scheduled holiday to prevent further school days into the summer or perhaps even cutting into spring break.

NAACP members called the decision disrespectful, citing the day's recognition by the federal government. The group called for local clergy and churches to advise parents to keep their children home and boycott the school day.

In an email sent to school district officials, one parent remarked, "This special day may not be important to some, but to the majority it's very symbolic. If you choose to keep Dr. M. L. King Day as the makeup, I, along with many others, will NOT be sending my child to school."

Despite pressure from parents, local community leaders, and the NAACP, the district has yet to reverse its policy. The district did propose an alternative, however. LaTarzja Henry, the school district's spokeswoman, said the system would excuse absences Monday for students who presented proof they attended a King holiday event or activity.

While it is completely normal for school systems to have to make up for lost productivity from snow days, many argue that federal holidays should be off-limits.

What do you think about the situation? Is the district being disrespectful to the memory of Dr. King?
Comment below.

Comments (3)Add Comment
written by Sara, Colorado, January 14, 2011

I understand the need to make up time when the district might be looking at having a 10 month plus school year. I would use the day to teach about MLK across all of the subjects. Why not honor Dr. King by watching the I Have a Dream speech, reading about him, writing about him and how they are inspired by him, and producing art work depicting him? What a great way that would be to carry on his work, rather than having the day off to sleep in? (BTW, my district has given us the day off.)
written by Chris, Virginia, January 14, 2011

I would like to see all federal holidays respected. We have made up days on Veteran's Day, President's Day, and Memorial Day. All of these holidays should be treated equally.
written by Sarah, South Carolina, January 14, 2011

What about an in-service day or a teacher- only work day? I think federal holidays should be off limits.

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