By Ron Marasco
The big snowstorm we saw back in late December changed a lot plans. For one, the Des Moines Public School District had to figure out where to reschedule two snow days. And their decision isn't too popular with one group. Members of the Des Moines NAACP Youth Council say attending class on MLK DAY is not OK.
"For school to be scheduled on this day, it makes me question where our values are at," said Avery Jackson, a senior at Hoover High School.
"I feel like it's very inconsiderate," said Joy Gachii, a senior at Southeast Polk High School. She said her high school always is in session on MLK Day.
These students would rather spend the day honoring Dr. King's legacy of service outside of school.
"There is a program... that the state does that's at the Historical Building" said Jackson. "There's (also) a program out at Fort Des Moines where you participate, and like kids get to color. The other kids, like you can make music about his legacy."
The Des Moines Public School District originally planned for no class before Mother Nature intervened. The district says a calendar committee, which included parents, made the decision more than a year ago where to make up snow days, and no one objected then to using MLK Day as a make-up day.
"People have strong feelings about MLK Day, and the memory of Martin Luther King as everyone should, but we hope that we're finding middle ground," said district spokesman Phil Roeder.
That middle ground... The district plans to honor Dr. King another way: They say a more meaningful way than a day off from school.
"As long as we're going to have 32,000 students in school that day is to use that as an opportunity to help students appreciate the real meaning behind MLK Day, and the real meaning of community service," said Roeder.
But not everyone's on board, and the students plan to voice their disapproval at Tuesday's school board meeting.
"Not only do we want our voice to be heard, but we want change to be made," said Jackson. "We want to make sure that if it can't be made this year, that it doesn't happen again."
Students will be making up that second snow day from December on President's Day. The school district said they're wary of adding all snow make-up days to the end of the year.