Keep schools open on MLK holiday

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

Several years ago, the Marion County School Board met with veterans officials, and decided that having children in school on Veterans Day, but concentrating on the celebration instead of a regular curriculum, was more beneficial to the students.
There was even a decision to bus a couple thousand students to Veterans Park for the annual celebration.
Maybe it’s time to look at that decision as it concerns the Martin Luther King holiday.
We went to the annual march through town, and more than a couple thousand people took part. Included in that crowd were hundreds of school children, almost all of whom were marching with a specific church.
But obviously evident was that almost all the children who took part were African American. Yes, there were a couple of pockets of white students, but others were conspicuous by their absence.
So what were the white students doing while this march was going on? It’s a cinch they weren’t at home studying up on Martin Luther King. And since this isn’t a universally accepted holiday, it may have caused some parents to worry about day care for their younger children because the adults had to work.
Maybe that day off for students should be taken away. Maybe they should stay in school, but the curriculum for that day, for all grades K-12, should include lengthy learning about MLK.
What would happen to the parade, you ask? We have a proposed solution to that, too. Since the holiday always falls on a Monday, the march through town could take place on Saturday, two days earlier. All the programs at the conclusion could also be held on Saturday.
On the holiday itself, maybe some of the scholars and church officials who normally march in the parade could be recruited to teach in the classrooms, making sure the day is dedicated to what it is supposed to mean.
If we’re going to celebrate Martin Luther King day, we should draw all students, regardless of race, into the events. Perhaps making sure they’re in school that day would be a start to having everyone learn why we have the holiday.