Monday the country takes time to honor the accomplishments and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His work in the American civil rights movement, coupled with a message of peace, should never be forgotten. As such, it is a federal holiday.
This year, more than ever, I've heard people remark that this should be a day on, not a day off. It shouldn't be a day to hit the shopping mall or head to the movies, it should be a day to advance the work of Dr. King by showing our love and respect for others. Hence, a movement this year for people to take time on MLK Day to volunteer in their communities. What a great idea!
But we also received a complaint about one school district that did not give students the day off. My question is whether you think that's such a bad thing? How many students attended an MLK event Monday? How many students did volunteer work Monday? What if the students went to school, where they heard speakers discuss the civil rights movements or had special lessons on MLK or headed out as a class to spruce up the neighborhood park? It would be much like the programs and projects we're invited to cover at schools on Veterans Day and Presidents Day. Of course, the flip side is that simply having the holiday raise to such a level that schools are not in session gives it added weight and sparks the same conversation about who MLK was.
The lessons Dr. King taught are vital for students to learn. I leave it to you to debate whether that's better accomplished through a day on or a day off.