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School Board Votes Unanimously To Give Kids Inaugural Holiday

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Montgomery County school board voted yesterday to declare a holiday on Inauguration Day, the latest in a wave of actions that will close most of the region's public schools Jan. 20.

School systems in Charles, Loudoun, Prince George's, Prince William and St. Mary's counties and elsewhere have altered their calendars since Election Day so that students -- and, in some cases, employees -- can attend the inauguration of the country's first African American president, Barack Obama. Other systems, including those in Fairfax County and the District, had already planned to close.

A few school systems, including those in Anne Arundel and Howard counties, will remain open but are taking care to allow students and staff excused absences.

Montgomery School Superintendent Jerry D. Weast recommended against closure. But more than 5,000 people signed a student petition on the online networking site Facebook in support of an Inauguration Day holiday, and board members were deluged with requests from parents and staff. A resolution from board member Christopher S. Barclay (Silver Spring) passed unanimously.

"It is clear that our community would like to participate in all kinds of ways in this inauguration," Barclay said before the vote.

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