In Fairfax, a fight to add Veterans Day as holiday to school calendar fails to garner support

December 11, 2013

The first day of school in Fairfax will be Tuesday, Sept. 2 next fall, and the academic year will end on Friday, June 19 after the school board voted to approve the 2014-2015 calendar late last week.

The calendar will be similar to this year’s, with no major changes to the academic schedule.

During a meeting, school board member Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield) pushed her colleagues last Thursday to add Veterans Day as a holiday to the school calendar. Speaking to the other board members, Schultz said that Veterans Day is the only federal holiday not currently acknowledged on the Fairfax school calendar.

Schultz and school board member Megan Mclaughlin (Braddock) pointed out that the Washington region, home to the Pentagon and several military bases, has many military families, including those with children in the school sy stem.

Schultz proposed two alternatives to the calendar which would have given the day off to students in honor of Veterans Day. Both proposals failed 10 to 2. School board member Janie Strauss (Dranesville) said that November is a busy month on the school calendar with student holidays for Thanksgiving. Strauss also said that keeping kids in school gives them the opportunity to learn about the history of Veterans Day.

“If students were off they likely wouldn’t even participate in events to honor veterans,” Strauss said.

The 2014-2015 calendar includes three extra school days as a buffer for school cancellations for inclement weather. In Virginia, students are required to attend school for 180 days a year.

In Fairfax, school has been cancelled twice this week, leaving only one more day in reserve this year. If school is cancelled for more than three days this year, additional days will be added to the calendar to make up for lost classroom time.

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.
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