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Iowa parents start petition over district's decision to make MLK Day a snow makeup day

Some Iowa parents and community members are outraged at the  Clear Creek Amana school board's decision to not observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, instead making it a snow-make up day. (KWQC)
Some Iowa parents and community members are outraged at the Clear Creek Amana school board's decision to not observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, instead making it a snow-make up day. (KWQC)(KWQC)
Published: Jan. 17, 2020 at 4:52 PM CST
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Some Clear Creek Amana School District parents and community members are outraged at the school board's decision to not observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, instead making it a snow-make up day.

Angela Minear is one of those parents.

"My daughter will not be here on Monday we will be going to activities downtown that advocate for equality and diversity and teach about Doctor King's dream," said Minear.

"I was not very happy," she added. "We had designated that day for going downtown to Iowa City and doing activities with daughter to remember Doctor King."

Facebook posts from the District Wednesday, said the board approved the 2020-2021 calendar at their School Board of Education meeting that night and went on to say, a survey sent to families in November, asking for their input, got no comments regarding the snow make up day.

"People who didn't want this holiday used as such should have spoken up then, absolutely. I was unaware that was even an option to give that type of input or that a federal holiday would even be considered a snow make up day," said Sean Keller, another parent in the District, who started a petition, which is now has more than 800 signatures.

Sean Keller is one of several parents saying they were not aware of that survey. He says he found out about the decision via email from the District Wednesday.

"Other people cared about this," he said.

The petition is calling on the board to take action to change the make-up day to a different time, and also send a message of inclusion.

"I think it sends a message that we don't value MLK day the way we value other federal holidays, and maybe the community doesn't and if so, we need to have that conversation," he added.

He does say they plan to present the petition to the board.

The Superintendent did not go on camera, but sent a statement to TV9 that said, "The CCA School District will continue to implement its approved calendar for the 2019-2020 school year, which includes designated makeup days for school missed due to inclement weather. As with any school day, student absences on a makeup day for the observation of a holiday will be excused."

This is not the first time a decision like this has garnered outrage locally. In 2014, the Iowa City community school district faced backlash for holding classes on the federal holiday.

That later pushed the board to attempt to cancel classes, but failed to do so after finding out state law forbid them from altering the current calendar once the school board and department have approved it.

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