There won’t be a Memorial Day vacation day in Leander, Texas–at least not one for the students in Leander’s schools.
The suburban Austin, Texas school district chose to make Memorial Day one of their “make-up” days for inclement weather closings. With two ice days this month, Leander Independent School District will now be holding classes on Memorial Day unless the school board takes action at their next regularly scheduled meeting.
One concerned parent is James Crabtree, now a reserve officer in the United States Marine Corps.
Crabtree told Breitbart News:
My battalion lost ten good Marines when we were in Iraq. Memorial Day is the one day our nation has set aside to honor their memory and the memory of all who have given their lives in our armed forces. For the school board to choose to hold school on this day, rather than adding it to the end of the year or using three scheduled “staff development” days, is wrong and unpatriotic.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Leander ISD’s Executive Director for School and Community Relations, Veronica Sopher, said there was no disrespect intended to any veterans or families of veterans lost in combat.
“We are bound by state law and teachers’ contracts,” Sopher explained, “as to when the start of school will be and how many holidays can be scheduled. We have very little flexibility on when we can schedule make-up days for educational days that are lost because of weather.”
She explained there are two days left in this semester for make-up days, and they have two days to make up. As for the scheduling, Sopher explained this is an issue where the Texas Legislature needs to provide more local control to the school districts.
We understand that there is interest from the community to explore legislative options, granting school districts more flexibility on building their school calendars; this is something we welcome and would love to participate in. In granting more flexibility, we could better choose holidays and days of observation that better fit our communities. Just for clarification, the mandated school start date of the “fourth Monday of August” drives the calendar and greatly limits our options. We support any conversation that would remove this strict limitation.
As for this year’s Memorial Day, “We plan to invite veteran groups to come into the schools and explain to the students the importance of and why we celebrate this day of remembrance,” Sopher said. “We do the same thing on Veterans Day in the fall. It truly is an opportunity for shared learning.”
The Leander ISD’s next school board meeting is set for Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, but an agenda has not yet been announced, and it is uncertain if the issue will be considered by trustees.