January and February are big months for American heroes. Celebrations marking the birthdays of Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are celebrated in February. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is marked with a U.S. holiday near the date of his birth in January.
Sincere people have wondered why the Brainerd School District conducts classes on Martin Luther King Day since it's a federal holiday. They wonder if a business as usual approach to the holiday minimizes its importance in the eyes of school children.
Our view is that students will learn much more about Dr. King in the course of a school day than they will on a three-day holiday. The sad fact is the Fourth of July is the only federal holiday that draws huge crowds for its celebrations.
The Brainerd School District has done a superb job of bringing in military veterans to address students on Veterans Day. Many students have heard first-hand of the horrors of war from veterans who were on the front lines. Similar activities and lessons are conducted in the Brainerd School District to honor King.
Each school district should make the determination regarding whether school should be in session for the King holiday. American students already go to school fewer days than their counterparts in other nations. The last thing education needs is the federal government mandating that schools close to honor Martin Luther King's birthday, particularly since the holiday is scheduled on the third Monday of the month, rather than his actual birthday.
Keep the students in class on Martin Luther King Day. When our community celebrations for that holiday reach the point where school kids are missing out on great experiences the matter can be revisited.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.