To the editor:

I was talking to a couple of my students on the Friday prior to the Martin Luther King holiday and I told them to enjoy their three-day break. They asked what I was going to do with my day off on Monday and I mentioned that it was a not a day off for teachers. In fact, in Lakeville, it never has been. They were shocked and a bit dismayed that the school district does not see fit to fully observe MLK Day. Since that discussion, I have been reflecting on this and I also wonder why it is that the Lakeville School District does not fully observe this federal holiday and accord it the same level of observance and respect that they do other federal holidays, i.e. Presidents Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Ironically, the school district always finds a way to make sure that Good Friday is observed as a day off for all and it is not a federal holiday. Cleverly it is disguised as “extended spring break” on the school calendar even when spring break may have ended two weeks prior. My thought is that if the official school calendar needs to call it something it is not maybe we ought not to be having that day off. Just a thought. In addition, I think it is a bad practice for a public school to show religious favoritism toward one faith and not others. Last I checked there has never been a day off for Eid al Fitr (the celebration marking the conclusion of Ramadan). I think we send the wrong message to students and the community (particularly students and families of color) when we do not give the Martin Luther King holiday the level of respect and observation it deserves.

Peter Woollen

Minneapolis

Lakeville South High School teacher

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