Editorial: Off for Inauguration?

The Loudoun County School Board has sparked spirited community debate over the latest proposal to add a system-wide holiday to the 2017 calendar on Jan. 20.

In most parts of the country, cancelling classes on Inauguration Day would be viewed as educational folly. Closer to Capitol Hill, however, there may be opportunities for valuable civic lessons outside the school walls. In this region, it is feasible for students to witness the historic transfer of power in person, finding space on The Ellipse or along the presidential parade route. That’s not an opportunity readily available to students in Kansas or California.

In recognition of that, several area school districts designate Inauguration Day as a school holiday every four years. Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County and Montgomery County have adopted the holiday. Those further outside the Beltway have not.

More recently, Loudoun has addressed the issue on an ad-hoc basis. President Obama’s first inauguration was declared a holiday after the votes were tallied. Four years later, schools were closed again, but for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. When the calendar was set last fall, the notion of canceling classes Jan. 20 wasn’t given much thought.

In this case, we are reminded school administrators’ logic in not providing Veterans Day as a student holiday: Students are more likely to reflect on the sacrifices of the men and women serving in the military through school programs, than they would be if left to their own devices at home.

The best approach can be found in the middle ground. Students with the opportunity to attend the ceremonies should be permitted to do so as an excused absence. But for the rest, there is value in viewing the historic event in a classroom setting where the inherent civic lessons can be highlighted in way a that promotes better citizenship.

5 thoughts on “Editorial: Off for Inauguration?

  • 2016-12-09 at 12:16 pm
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    There is no substitute for attending history in person.

    • 2016-12-09 at 3:07 pm
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      Attending in person? This is not the 1940s. There are these new technologies called TV, YouTube, DVR, Facebook, etc.,

      • 2016-12-09 at 11:51 pm
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        We are all sure the ultra-liberal CareerSwitcher said the same thing during Obama’s 2009 inauguration. The problem for these libs is they don’t mind being a hypocrite but it destroys their credibility with everyone else.

        • 2016-12-10 at 7:20 pm
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          Just what do you think you will see if you go into DC that day? Not the actual swearing in. It even much of the parade. Yet, David and Brian, you want the entire school system to shut down? If a family wants to go, just go. No need to close everything. And if you do want to see the important events, why not watch online.

          • 2016-12-12 at 5:59 pm
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            Actually, I thought it was silly for schools to be out during Obama’s inauguration. I think they should treat both parties equally though. I was simply pointing out you have no problem with unequal treatment if your side wins.

            My preference is to give blanket excuses for absences on that day and preferably have classrooms watch on TV. Might need to monitor for indoctrination by liberal teachers though.

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