Schools' plans for MLK holiday prompt objections
Kids got to play in the snow this week in Charlotte, North Carolina, but it's back to school on Monday, holiday or no holiday.
January 14th, 2011
04:58 PM ET

Schools' plans for MLK holiday prompt objections

Some school districts in the South are making up for  days missed because of this week's snow and ice by requiring students to attend class on Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, a decision that does not sit well with some parents and community leaders.

The issue is especially sensitive in King's home state of Georgia, where administrators in two rural districts  - Fannin and Gilmer counties - have canceled the school holiday.

"We have eight days that we've missed, and we're just in the 14th day of January," Fannin Superintendent Mark Henson said. "Here in the North Georgia mountains, history proves we have a lot of snow in January and February and sometimes into early March."

Both districts are considering canceling Presidents Day (February 21) and part or all of spring break as well, the administrators said.

State-mandated standardized testing weighs heavily on administrators' decision-making.

"With high-stakes testing that occurs in late April, we're trying to maximize instructional days before these high-stakes test as much as we can," said Michael Schlabra, director of administrative services for Gilmer County schools.

Tacking the days onto the end of the year would be pointless because they would come after the tests, Henson said.

"Those excuses are unacceptable," said Georgia State Conference NAACP President Edward DuBose. "To substitute the legacy of what Dr. King stood for, to reduce it to an inclement weather day, is unacceptable. ... (It) reflects the ultimate disrespect of an entire people."

DuBose is not swayed by the prospect of the districts' also canceling other holidays.

"Dr. King's day was bought for a high price," he said. "Dr. King gave his life for this country. He, by his work, changed the notion of how people view people of color."

North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools designated Monday as one of its weather make-up days when it approved the academic calendar two years ago, a statement on the district's website says.

"Teachers and principals are encouraged to discuss Dr. King and his legacy as part of their lessons on January 17 to help students understand and observe the holiday," the statement says.

The district, led by Superintendent Peter Gorman, says it is hamstrung by state law that requires schools to have 180 days of instruction and that the school year begin and end on specific dates.

The Charlotte NAACP chapter isn't buying it.

"The NAACP on behalf of the African-American and minority community is appalled and thoroughly incensed at Peter Gorman's decision to use the MLK holiday as a snow make-up day," the group said on its website. "Once again Dr. Gorman has shown total disdain and disrespect for a very significant part of this community."

The academic calendar for Nashville, Tennessee, schools allows for four bad-weather days, but this week's storm canceled five days of school. The district chose to cancel a February 21 (Presidents Day) professional development day for faculty to make up for its fifth snow day.

The Madison County, Alabama, district, where Huntsville is located, may shorten spring break and have school on Presidents Day, Superintendent Terry Davis told the Birmingham News.

In South Carolina, the Rock Hill school district will have classes not only on Monday, but also on Presidents Day (February 21), Memorial Day (May 30) and Confederate Memorial Day (May 10).

"It's not that we wanted to do any of this. I'm losing holidays, my colleagues are losing holidays just like students are losing them," Elaine Baker, spokesperson for the Rock Hill School District, told CNN affiliate WBTV.

"I was hoping we wouldn't have to use any of the designated bad weather days," she told CNN, "but God decided to make it snow in South Carolina."

The district normally would use faculty in-service days to make up for lost time, but those days were eaten up by furlough days enacted by the money-strapped district, she said.

Parents don't want spring break shortened because many have already put money down for vacations, Baker said.

"We are not intentionally defaming the memory of this American leader; that is not so. We are just encountering what I call a perfect storm," she said.

"... We of course respect Martin Luther King, as well as men and women who are going to feel badly about Memorial Day and Presidents Day."

The Rev. Herb Crump, former president of the Rock Hill Chapter of the NAACP, disagreed with the protests of the chapter's current leadership. He said King would have wanted children to be in school on Monday.

"I think that our children would be doing a disservice, and it would be a slap in the face to the life of Dr. King by sitting at home playing video games," Crump told WBTV.

soundoff (483 Responses)
  1. Reality

    It is obvious that many of the posters who purport to being black are not. This issue is not regarding the importance of education but the lack thereof. The issue that is being discussed is how to make up 5 extra days. Most of you seem passionate about educating the children. My question to you is how can you come up with a better solution to the problem without becoming the problem? Until we become solution oriented people We are all crabs in a barrel. I think that is one of the many lessons that Dr. King was teaching. That is why remembering his legacy is important. Now Let's here some solutions! Are weekends out of the question?

    January 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      We have used Presidents Day for Snow days for years. No one is more important than other of our famous people that helped mold our country!!!

      It makes sense that when schools do not factor in snow days that the next holiday be used. In this case MLK day was the next holiday.

      Ridiculous hearing things that I JUST heard on CNN of MLK day being 'their' only holiday. I mean if you want to get technical about it there is always the ENTIRE month of FEBRUARY set aside recognized. Not just a holiday here and there.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • SickofPiersMorganalready

      This is funny, MLK's Birthday skipped because of WHITE snow!!

      January 17, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. Matt


    You are the moron. You are against Christianity and are atheist.
    Keep atheist believing by yourself.


    January 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Karen

    Many posts here appear protective of Dr King's memory as well as President Obama's administration however it is obvious the writers are not aware of what these men stand for, only the color of their skin. My children attend schools with black and white students. Our church congregation is racially mixed. I work in a major university medical center with black doctors, black nurses, black scientist, black Vice Presidents, black Vice Deans, black Chairs of Departments and the list goes on. I have black neighbors. I have black friends that visit my home, share meals with us. Black kids have spent the night at my home and my kids have stayed over night at theirs. I campaigned for and voted for Obama.
    FYI: Obama has tremendous support in the white community also.
    Cyrus: you need to listen to Dr King's "I Have A Dream" speech and HEAR him; then listen to the emotional speech our president made earlier this week, and HEAR him. Dr King's full vision can not be reached until racist biggots, white and black, stop judging by skin color and focus on humanity. I can only imagine what would be accomplished if all the energy that goes into racist hate were put into education, cures for disease, helping the homeless.
    There is blame on both sides of this coin: ignorant biggots that refuse to move forward. We should spend tomorrow honoring Dr King's legacy by moving forward with the dream, the vision he had for this nation, all of us: Blacks Whites Hispanics Asian Vietnamese African Cuban Everyone! This is not a game where one needs to pick a side.

    January 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Marcus Garvey

    My kids will not go to school tomorrow for the MLK HOLIDAY. Like Cyrus said earlier white people dont even live by us or let their kids go to school with us yet they want to tell us what to do for MLK's Holiday.

    January 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • SickofPiersMorganalready

      Shut up. You PEOPLE complain about everything!!

      January 17, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • icu

      I see, by your comment, your family brought you up in a racist atmosphere.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • icu

      And, unfortunantly, you have attracted the "birds of a feather" from the "other side".

      January 17, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • SickofPiersMorganalready

      Where I live they don't close the schools for this anyway.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • SickofPiersMorganalready

      As long as it's s white bird. Know why blackbirds fell from the sky? It takes WORK to fly.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. shizzel

    I'm scared of meeting a bear in real life maybe some spiders frighten me but blacks...if they really exist besides for on the tv I think I would be ok. Maybe I'm wrong. I may run screaming but for some reason I think If I got to see the actual black man in real life like say at a grocery store or a fast food joint I think I could hold it together. Ofcourse a real black man would have his child in school getting an education rather than pretending to be some activist for the exact oposite of a dream another real blackman once had

    January 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. shizzel

    Nobody is telling anyone what to do with the 17th of jan. You wanna deprive your child of a chance to be educated by people who went to school to do exactly that then it is your right to do it. But you are sticking it to your child not to the "whiteman"

    January 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. shizzel

    You people have a great mind and many gifts! But you let fools like avon and cyrus be your mouthpiece and then voice opinions that say they are right. You are summing all white people up into one group but get offended when they do the same. "Whites don't go to our schools or live in our neighborhoods" yes they do. Not many depending on the 'hood but there are some. And there are some ,not many, blacks in the "white" hoods. But what about all the racially mixed neighborhoods where you can have several diff ethnicitys on one block and everyone knows everyone and there is FRIENDSHIP! When retarded whites say all blacks do drugs and belong to gangs its the same as when blacks say we are all scared of you getting together as a comunity. Things have indeed changed there are less ignorent whites who make such rediculous statements about blacks. But there has to bean acceptance level on both sides. I may not agree with it buti would die fighting for avons right to spout his racist bs. Try coming together as a community instead of insisting on racial divides!

    January 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grammar Nazi

      Too many mistakes to count.

      January 18, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Black Panther

    @ Cyrus – I Love U Man! You are right. Seeing black people united is the last thing white people want to see. As u said earlier white people cant count. WE ARE THE MAJORITY, and thats a hard pill for white people to swallow. White people have brought nothing but HATE to this world which is sad. Last week my 6 year old son asked me DO WHITE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT LOVE IS? I told him I dont know. I wish I could say yes they do know what love is. But the truth is u dont know what love is. Your racist remarks and continued disrespect to Dr. King and black people as a whole sadly proves that.

    January 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • SGBG

      @Black Panther. So how were your actions different than what you accuse the white population of? If you missed an opportunity to educate your child, then you did your child and race relations a huge injustice. You are judging whites "as a whole". I get tired of the whole "us against them" mentality. I grew up in a very racially diverse environment where half my friends were black and half were white. If you aren't part of the solution then how much do you really care? Show some respect to the MLK's and Rosa Parks who made MY life and YOURS better. Stand up and stop hate one child at a time. It's too damn easy to be angry and lazy nowdays!

      January 17, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      That is Insulting I don't know what kind of white people you live around to make you say such things but WOW.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Christina

      Alright, well...givin the fact that everyone on here (colored or not) Is jumping all over each other like a pack of wild wolves, let me just say this. In your comment, you havent shown one sign that you know of love either. To say " do whites even know what love is"? Is just kind of rediculas.

      As far as the school deciding to have a make up day on this particular holiday, did they ever think just maybe they should be prepaird for a storm if one should come? I live in Maine, we have storms. It snows, the workers plow, put down salt. If school should be cancled, they take in to consideration ALL aspects, not just how bad the weather is. If they should cancel school, we made it up during the end of the year, testing or not. Sure us kids comeplained, but we were still thankful for the extra day off during the school week. That just meant the teachers actually had to do their jobs and test themselves to see just how good of a teacher they really are. We've never go to make up lost time on a holiday.

      My best friend is black, and I am white. Do either of us care? Do we get looked at oddley? To be honest, neither of us care. I've never noticed if we do because, frankley what others think doesnt bother me. I love my best friend, and I would defend her against any white who had a problem with her color.

      So, to everyone on here that thinks white dont love, and all whites hate blacks. Take that as you will. I might not care about someones personal appearance, but ignorance drives me crazy.

      "American children are stupid" All I can say is I am one, and if I can see that it's wrong to be a small minded, vapor breathed ridicul...then I have more faith in my generation then I do the ones who raised us.

      You ALL (colored or not) need to grow up. It's time for a change, or was that just last election season? It's about time it happend, i'd love for someone above 24 to learn they need to keep growing too.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. Cyrus

    @ Black Panther – White people have a disease. And that disease is called HATE. The only cure for HATE is LOVE. White people have been infected with HATE for so long that they dont know what LOVE is. If JFK had a holiday black people would honor it because we LOVE him and know he was a great man. White people on the other hand HATE MLK, and dont even celebrate his holiday. In honor of Dr.King I want to say what black people always say: I LOVE YOU. I know its gonna take thousands of years for u all to get cured of your disease I hope u get cured sooner by us GOOD GUYS just ignoring your racism and teaching u all that LOVE is the only thing in this world that can cure your sick, evil, twisted minds. And yes, OUR KIDS STILL WONT BE IN OUR SCHOOLS TOMORROW! We LOVE U white people! CAN YOU DIG IT!!

    January 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. shizzel

    Does anyone else see the irony in what cyrus is saying? You sir are a racist pure and simple and saying that you love everyone is a lie. Tolerance in a decision made by the schoolboard to better your children and not deprive them of their education would show love and acceptance. Save your BS for malcom x day.

    January 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Radio Raheem

    HATE... ko'd by LOVE! Cyrus I wish I knew u in real life. You got me pumped up! LOVE is the cure but we still have to be careful. MLK sadly had to learn that the hard way. How many times have our leaders given LOVE to white people and ended up hurt or worse? Besides advancements in technology America is no different than it was in 1968 when Dr King was killed. Evil still lurkes in this country so black people have to continue to honor our leaders while at the same time teach white people how to LOVE everybody not just themselves.

    January 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Karen

    Yes, most people can see Cyrus for what he truly is. Unfortunately he is the most dangerous kind of racist as his type keep hate alive. What a disappointment to the legacy of Dr King.

    January 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kanye West

    White people live, eat and learn in their own little world but worry about what we do with our kids. Thanks for making black people the center of your universe! LOL!

    January 16, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Katrina

    My kids will not go to school tomorrow. I live in Chicago and everybody has their own area. The white people live on the north side and we live on the west and south side. My family is on the south side. White people on here making comments can pretend that we live in the same places but its not true. When u get done crying about our kids not going 2 school tomorrow take a walk outside and look around. Next when u take your kids 2 school notice that all of the kids are white. White people may want to believe that racism is gone but its not. WHILE WE LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD WHITE PEOPLE LIVE IN AN ALTERED STATE OF REALITY WHERE THEY ARE THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Julia

    Most areas are racially mixed with diverse school populations now. I have lived in 5 southern states as well as California, I attended school with black kids as did my children and now my grandchildren. I haven't experienced anything like Katrina describes in Chicago and others describe in Atlanta. Sounds like segregation revisited.
    Very sad.

    January 16, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
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