The Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education will consider amending next year’s school calendar to make the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday an observed holiday, rather than an available day to makeup classes.
The Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education will consider amending next year’s school calendar to make the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday an observed holiday, rather than an available day to makeup classes. Board discussion was brought on following remarks by three Chillicothe R-2 School District students who attended Tuesday night’s board meeting and said that they were disappointed that classes were held on Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The district planned to have the day off; however, a snow day last week prompted the school to have classes on Monday. The students said that the missed day should have been made up at a different time, keeping the MLK Day as an observed holiday for the district. Javon Kille, a sixth-grader and Chillicothe Middle School, along with 8th-grader Anderson DeJesus and Chillicothe High School sophomore Christina DeJesus, attended the board’s meeting Tuesday evening at the district headquarters. They explained that other school districts in the area have the King holiday built in as an observed day off, rather than incorporating the day as a makeup day. The students also expressed disappointment that the life of Martin Luther King Jr. was not discussed during their classes on Monday. R-2 Board President Brent Turner told the students that the board would consider the students’ concerns when setting the calendar schedules in the future. However, following a scheduled executive session later that evening, the board went back into open session and discussed the students’ request. Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes stated that no votes were taken but said that the board members were in general agreement that the day should be a designated holiday for the district. “The kids made a good point,” Barnes stated. He also said that students in the district should receive some instruction dealing with Martin Luther King Jr. and the importance of his life. Board members had approved the 2018-19 school calendar during a previous meeting, and included Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day off unless it would be needed as a makeup day. The board plans to revisit the issue during a future meeting to consider amending the calendar to make MLK Day a designated district holiday. By law, school districts must identify six make-up days on their school calendar, Barnes stated. For the 2017-18 school year, the first makeup day is Jan. 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day). If more days are needed, the schedule is as follows: March 29, April 2, May, 17, May 18, May 21. The current calendar was set and approved by the school board prior to the start of the 2017-18 school year.