Updated 01/12/2011 07:58 PM
MLK Day used as snow make-up day sparks controversy
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CHARLOTTE - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district's decision to use the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to make up a snow day is sparking controversy.
CMS students had three days off from school to start the week after a winter storm blanketed the area with snow and ice. County NAACP chapter president Rev. Kojo Nantambu called for CMS to rethink the plan to use Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to make up the first of the days off.
"It seems to be a sense of disregard and disdain for that holiday for us," he said. "Can you not give a little consideration? We are a part of this community, a part of this country. Our heroes matter."
CMS spokesperson LaTarzja Henry said the school system isn't reconsidering the decision. She said the calendar is set two years in advance by a diverse 40-person committee.
Henry said schools will spend much of the day Monday learning about Dr. King's impact on the Civil Rights movement.
"What better way to pay tribute to him and his contributions then to be in school and engaged,” Henry said, “If students miss school to attend or participate in a Martin Luther King Day event, they will receive an excused absence.
So far, CMS is the only district in the Charlotte region that has decided to use the holiday as a make-up day. School systems in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Rowan, Stanly and Union Counties all confirmed they will not use Martin Luther King Day, while three others have yet to make a final decision.
CMS school board member Dr. Joyce Waddell expressed displeasure with district's decision. She was not a member of the board when this year's calendar was made and said she wants to make sure this issue doesn't come up again.
"I'm working very strong and speaking out strongly that, in the future, as we vote on calendars, that we do not use this day, that it be protected," Waddell said.
CMS will make up the other two snow days Feb. 18 and 21, which is Presidents' Day.