SAN ANTONIO — UPDATE: Harlandale ISD announced Wednesday that the Martin Luther King Day holiday would be reinstated; to make up for taking Election Day as a holiday, the district will extend the school year through June 7 instead.
In a city historically known to host one of the largest Martin Luther King marches in the country lies a school district sitting this holiday out.
In a letter to parents last month, Harlandale ISD stated MLK Day would no longer be a holiday off this year because the district decided to close on Election Day.
But after receiving some feedback, they decided to leave the decision making up to the staff members. In a vote, 39% decided to use MLK day as that make-up day. About 27% of the voters chose Battle of the Flowers and another 27% picked Memorial Day.
"Obviously, we were disappointed," San Antonio NAACP President Gregory Hudspeth, Ph.D. said.
"When we start eliminating Martin Luther King Day as a holiday for our schools, that becomes a very slippery slope, and we begin to devalue that day."
A day Dr. Hudspeth believes should have never been considered as a replacement day to begin with, which is why he sent a letter to Harlandale ISD asking them to reconsider putting the holiday back on the calendar.
"If we don't understand our history we're likely to repeat it," Hudspeth said. "So we think this is an important time for these students to have this exposure."
KENS 5 reached out to Harlandale ISD for comment on this matter, in an email the District Superintendent Gerardo Soto stated:
"First I would like to thank all of our community members that spoke yesterday at our board meeting. I want them to know that we are listening and we do value their opinions. We also would like the NAACP to know that we are aware of their concern and we are currently discussing alternatives and planning to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy. We hope to come to a decision soon that continues to benefit the learning of all of Harlandale ISD students. As soon as a decision is made we will inform our Harlandale ISD family."