Should Schools be Closed on Inauguration Day?

Dec 9, 2008 6:51pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports: There’s an interesting debate playing out in school districts in the Washington area: To close, or not to close.

The Inauguration of course, is a very big deal in Washington and its environs. Every Inauguration is, but this one is expected to draw unprecedented interest, with some 4 million visitors expected to descend on the nation’s capital for the historic day.

Should schools close to allow students — and their parents — to be part of the festivities surrounding the swearing-in of the nation’s first African-American president?

Or — particularly given the tight schedules in schools these days, with standardized tests and snow days and the like — is this a step too far, particularly since so many districts haven’t closed for other presidential inaugurations?

Schools in the District of Columbia and the Virginia counties of Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax, schools were set to be closed Jan. 20 long before Barack Obama beat John McCain.

A few other counties, including Loudoun in Virginia and Prince George’s and Charles in Maryland, decided that, given the intense interest in this year’s inaugural events, they would close schools.

A heated debate has played out in Montgomery County, Md., where the Board of Education voted Tuesday night to give students an inaugural holiday. The teachers’ union is pushing to have Jan. 20 off, while the superintendent said the schedule is too tight, and expressed concern that many parents will be left without child-care options.   

What do you think?

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