That holiday we just celebrated--the one with the turkey, the stuffing, the hours spent dozing in front of the television?
The federal government calls it Thanksgiving. Most everyone else does, too. But on the Prince William school calendar, it's "fall break."
That bothers School Board member Steven Keen (Woodbridge), who is on a mission to get the T-word on the Prince William calendar of official holidays. To do less "really does cheapen the importance of the holiday," he said this week.
So when the calendar for the 2000-2001 school year was presented at Wednesday's School Board meeting, a normally routine matter spawned a brief flurry of debate.
Keen asked why the "fall break" (Nov. 23 and 24 next year) isn't called Thanksgiving. Superintendent Edward L. Kelly said that fall break is so named because the school system already has a "spring break" and a "winter break." Chairman Lucy S. Beauchamp (At Large) brought the discussion to a quick close by telling Keen that if he wants to change the name of the two-day holiday, he needs to talk to board members, not the staff.
"I have no problem with calling it the Thanksgiving holiday," Beauchamp said after the meeting. But she also said that calling the time off a fall break has not been a problem in the past. Both Fairfax and Loudoun county school systems call it a Thanksgiving break or holiday.
Keen says he plans to readdress the issue, prompted by what he considers a persuasive argument made by a speaker at a Nov. 23 School Board meeting. As for spring break and winter break, they should retain their current names because they encompass other holidays and celebrations besides the Christian holidays of Easter and Christmas, Keen said.
"There are people who are offended that we would slight such an important national observance and trivialize it the way we have" with the Thanksgiving holiday, Keen said.
Thanksgiving is a time set aside for counting blessings and giving thanks to "a higher power," he said. "It is a thought that is becoming increasingly alien in this world."
The board will take a final vote on the school calendar Dec. 15.