Letter to the Editor

Schools right to recognize MLK Jr. Day

Friday, January 28, 2011

To the Editor:

Jan. 17 marked the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King National Holiday. On April 4, 1968, a bullet ended his life in Memphis, Tenn. He was 39 years old. His movement was nonviolent. After many attempts on his life, he knew he might meet death almost any time. He said, "death really doesn't matter with me now."

This was a day recognized across America. This holiday is celebrated by a day of school and government offices closing and the honoring of his accomplishments. Dr. King strived to obtain freedom and the rights he peacefully attempted to gain. Martin Luther King, one of the great American heroes of the 20th century, led our country to a better way for all Americans, and this is well worth the National Holiday.

History is important, and the acknowledgment of how this country has changed is important. Dr. King's legacy is important. Having our local school districts acknowledge the holiday may seem like something small, but it will serve as a helpful step forward for our state and local communities in realizing Dr. King's dream. The schools which didn't recognize his holiday, need to understand they are not doing their children justice. Our nation is no greater than our schools. The Chinese have figured this out.

According to Blue Arkansas, more than 100 school districts across Arkansas do not recognize the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday. Among the school districts in northeast Arkansas are Batesville School District, Bay School District, Cave City School District, Cedar Ridge School District, Corning School District, Cross County

Schools, Des Arc Public Schools, Greene County Tech School District, Harrisburg Public Schools, Highland Public Schools, Hughes School District, Izard County Consolidated School District, Jackson County School District, Jonesboro Public Schools, Lawrence County School District, Manila Public Schools, Marion School District, Marmaduke School District, McCrory School District, Mountain Home School District, Mountain View School District, Nettleton Public Schools, Norfolk School District, Pocahontas Public Schools, Rector School District, Riverview School District, Salem School District, Sloan-Hendrix Schools, Trumann School District and Valley View Public Schools. (This is not a complete list because some districts do not have up-to-date school calendars.)

There are more school districts not honoring the holiday than those which do.

This is about naming and shaming and about rewarding those who do the right thing with recognition. It's also about dragging the skeletons out of the closet for everyone to see, because without doing so, positive change will never come about.

I checked the Osceola School District with Arkansas Department of Education and found the Dr. King Holiday on its calendar.

Elder Albert Veasley