Holiday or Make-Up? Controversy over school on MLK Day - - Columbia, South Carolina

Holiday or Make-Up? Controversy over school on MLK Day

By Trent Faris - email

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) – Three and a half days students in the Rock Hill School district have been out of school due to the snow and now the students have to make those days up.

Brenda McGriff has three granddaughters in the district. For the past three days while they've been out of school they've enjoyed their time off.

"They've been sitting at home, playing in the snow and aggravating their mom," said McGriff.

This coming Monday which would have been another day off for a Holiday to observe Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday her grand kids will be back in school.

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  • "They could have used any day but Monday," said McGriff.

    The Rock Hill School District was forced to use the MLK and Confederate Memorial day to make up one day lost by snow.  Also President's Day and Memorial Day will be used as make ups.

    "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," said Elaine Baker, Spokesperson for the Rock Hill School District.

    Baker says a year ago the Rock Hill School board approved this year's calendar with MLK day as a bad weather make up day.

    The three holidays were picked because teacher work days were taken due to five furlough days teachers had to take because of budget cuts.

    State Law says students must go to school 180 days of the year

    "We had no choice, [the snow] left us with very few days for snow make up," said Baker.

    Not everyone is upset with having kids going to school on MLK day.

    "What better way to support the legacy of Dr. King than by attending school on that day," said Pastor Herb Crump.

    Reverend Crump is the former President of the Rock Hill Chapter of the NAACP and he says going to school Monday would be something Dr. King would have wanted.

    "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," said Crump.

    As for McGriff she had plans to spend the day with her grand kids on Monday and celebrate Dr. King at home, but now that's not going to happen.

    "Let them go an extra day in Summer.  If they get out May 31st let them go to June 1st.  Any day than using Martin Luther King's birthday," said McGriff  "I wouldn't blame parents if they keep their kids

    South Carolina State Representative, John King plans to write a bill this legislative session to keep MLK day from being used as a school make up day.  He released this statement to WBTV:

    There has been a lot of discussion about using state holidays such as Martin Luther King day, and Confederate Memorial day to replace snow days. 

    While we should be maximizing the educational opportunities for every child in South Carolina, we should also be mindful of the heritage and struggles of people in South Carolina. 

    These days provide students and their families with the opportunity to reflect on the rich history of our State and our Nation.  With all of the spirited discussion of these holidays happening now within the community, this bill is intended to prevent such turmoil in the future.  

    Both holidays have different meanings to different people and I serve all people of my district.  I do not want to just single out one holiday, but instead I want to embrace both halves of our great common heritage.

    - Rep. John Richard C. King, SC House District 49 York County

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