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Some Wake students in class on Memorial Day

Posted May 25, 2009
Updated May 26, 2009

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— Lauren Schmidt and her brother, Christian, spent part of Memorial Day on the bike trails with their grandfather, instead of in school.

They were among the approximate 33,500 year-round students in the Wake County Public School System scheduled to be in class Monday because of a 2007 decision by the Wake County Board of Education to hold class on a national holiday.

Some Wake students in class on Memorial Day Some Wake students in class on Memorial Day

Last week, Wake County Republican Party Chairman Claude E. Pope called on parents of year-round students to keep their children home as a protest to the school board's decision to have class on a day that should be reserved for remembrance of fallen soldiers.

"Our daughter and son-in-law decided to keep the kids home so that we could have a family day," said Lauren and Christian Schmidt's grandfather, Jim Jolin.

"They took the children out to Raleigh Cemetery and explained to them about Memorial Day," he added. "I'm surprised there's even a conflict. Memorial Day is Memorial Day."

More than 13,600 year-round school students didn't show up for class Monday, according to school district officials.

"The Wake GOP fully respects the education of our students, but students should not be forced to go to school on such an important holiday," Pope said in a statement Tuesday.

At Holly Grove Elementary School, where the U.S. flag flew at half-mast, class attendance was down about 25 percent, school officials said. Students spent part of the day learning the importance of the holiday.

Wake County school leaders said the school calendar was voted on two years ago and that the schools chose to have the Wednesday of Thanksgiving off, instead.

Traditional-calendared schools had the day off. Next year, all Wake County public school students will have off Memorial Day.

Wake County's year-round students were not the only ones in school. All students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system also were in class to make up for a snow day from March. There were Memorial Day events at schools.


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  • teach4er May 27, 2009

    momof2 you certainly are nitpicky about the word "whiney." As a teacher, my colleagues and I have been called much worse by your tax-paying friends. We are forced to take the high road and ignore much of the rudeness that is shown to us. You need to get a thicker skin if you are going to post on this blog. By the way I don't think anyone is 'whiney' for honoring Veterans.

  • Thinking Right May 27, 2009

    This is simply a lack for respect for those who have served, living and dead. I have no doubt that many families do not do attend a service or do anything to show their appreciation, but that is ok. The action of taking the day off is teaching kids that servicemen, women, and their contributions are important and are not to be forgotten.

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH May 26, 2009

    momof2---take your own advice. I was not defending her position on calling you whiney. I was defending her right to call you that. You went off own her staing she shouldn't call you that because you are a taxpayer who pays her salary. I think you over-estimate your importance in a teacher's pay rate. That was my point.

  • time4real May 26, 2009

    the bottom line, lack of communication on this issue was priceless! the lack of common sense with this decision? laughable, at best! way ta' go Rosa Gill & Co.!

  • SemperFi... Always May 26, 2009

    "The school board makes their decisions based on their knowlege not on the personal preference of a large group of spoined and immature parents." superman

    Spoiled & immature? Really? Agree or disagree on the topic but I'm pretty sure name calling doesn't really need to be in the debate. Being allowed to celebrate a holiday any way one pleases is a good example of why we even have Memorial Day. Is it that hard to understand?

  • Chris_H May 26, 2009

    Maybe if people really thought about it they would realize that - New Year's Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only days that many families all get off - yes there are people who have to work but most people in the corporate world get those days off - and how nice it is to have the whole family together - especially if you have kids on two schedules. Not surprised all all by the parents who have been forced into YR being upset and making the choice to keep kids home.

  • momof2 May 26, 2009

    YoucanthandletheTRUTH...Before you jump the gun, you should try to have an understanding of what is being said. Bottom line...just becuase I think it was wrong to have school on Memorial day does not make me whiney. I am not Pro YR or Pro traditional. My kids are on the traditional calendar so I was not affected by a poor scheduling decision made 2 years ago. I did not know any Wake County schools were operating yesterday until I saw this story. Our nation has set aside this day to remember fallen heroes. Many of the men in my family served in the armed forces. My grandfather lost his life. This day is special to my family. I just think the decision to not allow families to observe the holiday together was made in very poor taste. If that makes me whiney, then I guess I am a proud, whiney American!

  • superman May 26, 2009

    Many parents kept their children out of school because they were off work and wanted to take a holiday. It has nothing to do with the fact that it was Memorial Day! They could have sent their children to school where they would have learned respect and what Memorial Day really is or is meant to be. If they close school parents complain about having to get a sitter and if they stay open on a holiday they take them to the beach. That is why the BOE makes hard decisions-- remember the song-- you cant please everyone-- so please yourself. The school board makes their decisions based on their knowlege not on the personal preference of a large group of spoined and immature parents.

  • SemperFi... Always May 26, 2009

    "Parents that continually take their children out of school for no good reason, one can surely see what they will offer society in their adult life. NOTHING!" Professor

    I'm curious. What constitutes a "good reason"? I happen to think the reason why my child was out of school yesterday a great reason & I'm more than confident that he will be an excellent contributor to society despite him being absent yesterday.

  • SemperFi... Always May 26, 2009

    "How do you think the veterans thinks about this? By the way many veterans was working on that day. My spouse was working and working a full 8 hours - and is also a living veteran."

    Both my husband & I are USMC Veterans (he is still active duty) and plenty of friends & family fall into the category of serving or have served & they were VERY surprised to learn about school being held. They were also disappointed. NOT because of a mandatory way to celebrate the holiday but because a group of people picked Memorial Day to be in school (it is a national holiday) so that they could have a Wednesday off before a holiday that they already got the Friday off of. Was there really no other day they could pick? Really? I think there were plenty of other days they could have picked & that has nothing to do with how people choose to celebrate.