VOICES HEARD: No School On MLK Day

A group of metro students gave the school board a civics lesson Thursday and won.

Martin Luther King Junior Day and Presidents’ Day were reserved as make-up snow days way before this school year even started, but when last month’s blizzard put that plan into action a group of Des Moines teens protested.

When members of Des Moines’ NAACP Youth Council noticed they were expected to be in school on a holiday they took action.  They immediately petitioned the school board and showed up to speak at an emergency board meeting. Many spoke out asking Des Moines to show respect for this day of observance.

“We must remember that we are on the forefront of change. Other school districts are watching and waiting for the outcome of this situation,” said student Avery Jackson.

Other speakers argued in favor of keeping schools closed on January 21 and the school board didn’t argue at all.  They not only voted unanimously to keep the day off and make it up at the end of the school year, they also decided that the NAACP Youth Council will join the school district’s Youth Advisory Committee and have a hand in deciding how the day is observed in the future.

“I appreciate all of the extra effort that the school board took in doing this emergency meeting to give us another opportunity to really our concerns and to hear from the community, “said parent Elsie Jackson.

So Des Moines students are free from class on MLK Day January 21 and President’s Day February 18.  They’ll make up those days at the end of the school year, which was supposed to end on Friday, May 31.