Read the Bills Act Coalition

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Posted by MAXIMUS

HOPEWELL, VA: On December, 12, 2008, Ms. Mel Bage the Director of Personnel for the Hopewell City Public Schools, sent out an email to employees of the Hopewell School System that is causing quite a stir. The email is posted below in its entirety.

The Hopewell School Board has decreed that they will not be celebrating George Washington Day (known nationally as President's Day) on February 16, 2009. This is a holiday recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia and is celebrated with a day off, link here and look on the February Calendar and then to the Holiday legend on the bottom of the document:

This longstanding Holiday honoring Virginia's favorite son WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO BE THE FOUNDER OF OUR NATION will instead be supplanted by a day off to honor the inauguration of President Elect Barak Obama on January 20, 2009. This is a controversial decision at best. Why? George Washington helped to form and grow a nation. Barak Obama is best known for helping to grow ACORN---a voter registration program.

From Wikipedia: "The federal holiday Washington's Birthday honors the accomplishments of the man who has been referred to, for over two centuries, as "The Father of his Country". Celebrated for his leadership in the founding of the nation, he was the Electoral College's unanimous choice to become the first President; he was seen as a unifying force for the new republic and set an example for future holders of the office."

"The holiday is also a tribute to the general who created the first military badge of merit for the common soldier. Revived on Washington's 200th birthday in 1932, the Purple Heart recognizes injuries received in battle. Like Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Washington's Birthday weekend offers another opportunity to honor the country's veterans. Community celebrations often display a lengthy heritage. Historic Alexandria, Virginia, hosts a month-long tribute, including the longest running George Washington Birthday parade, while the community of Eustis, Florida, continues its annual "George Fest" celebration begun in 1902. At the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and at Mount Vernon in Alexandria, Virginia, visitors are treated to birthday celebrations throughout the federal holiday weekend and through February 22." link here:

WIKIPEDIA continues, "Washington's Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. It is also commonly known as Presidents Day (or Presidents' Day). As Washington's Birthday or Presidents Day, it is also the official name of a concurrent state holiday celebrated on the same day in a number of states. Titled Washington's Birthday, the federal holiday was originally implemented by the United States federal government in 1880 for government offices in the District of Columbia (20 Stat. 277) and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices (23 Stat. 516). As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington's actual birthday, February 22. On January 1, 1971 the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. A draft of the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 would have renamed the holiday to Presidents' Day to honor both Washington and Lincoln, but this proposal failed in committee and the bill as voted on and signed into law on June 28, 1968 kept the name Washington's Birthday."

In an exclusive to the Virgina Blogosphere, the Contemporary Conservative has obtained the below internal email from Mel Bage, the Director of Personnel for the Hopewell City Public Schools heralding the Holiday change:

From: Bage, Mel

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 8:45 AM


Subject: Amendment to 2008-09 School Calendar

Here is the School Board resolution from last evening with regard to the school calendar for 2008-09:

Approval to Amend 2008-09 School Calendar

RESOLVED, upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, that the following change in the 2008-2009 School Calendar is hereby approved:
January 20, 2009 – Schools Closed
February 16, 2009 – Regular School Day"


What's the problem here? School System employees were not asked for their input on this sudden change. Insufficient public notice was given so that this change could be discussed. Hopewell students are going to miss-out on an important teaching moment because students will not be encouraged to watch the Inauguration while at home. At school, however, it could be televised and used for different teaching opportunities. Not to mention, this is the only full day of school during that week in Hopewell. Another concern is that many staff members use the calendar to plan their own personal activities. These employees will now be forced to use personal/sick days or be docked a day of pay to do something that was previously scheduled according to the school calendar in order to accommodate those people who do not want to use personal days or be docked pay to attend the Inauguration . A bigger concern is for the parents with children Hopewell Public Schools. These parents have not been notified and now will have to make child care arrangements for their children during this day off from school.


1 comment:

HPS Teacher said...

Very well written. I am a teacher in Hopewell and we all have the same feelings you have shared. We did not receive any notice about this until we received the e-mail. We did not even know it was an option until the school board voted yes for it. If McCain was elected, do you think we would have had this day off? Highly unlikely.