Scheduling Snafu Has Kids in School on Memorial Day

An extra day of school is causing some controversy in Chatham County schools. For the first time ever, students have to go to school on Memorial Day this year, and kids aren't the only ones unhappy about it.

The school year started late, and the school board decided to make up for it by holding classes on Memorial Day. But an uproar has them rethinking that.

We caught up with some fifth graders from Oak Grove Intermediate in Darien while they were touring the Mighty 8th Air Force museum today. They seem to know the importance of the Memorial Day. "It's a good day that everybody should remember those who fought in the war," said Kaleigh Linton.

And that's why this social studies class came to the Mighty 8th; to remember our history and honor our veterans "I think we should be able to celebrate with them, cause they all went out and did their best to fight for this country," said Jack Gore.

But this year in Chatham County schools, there may be no Memorial Day celebration. "That's a terrible, terrible thought," said veteran Lee Maltenford.

And that has many veterans thinking now they have a new battle on their hands. "If no one carries on their memory, starting with young people, within a few generations there will be no memories," said Maltenford.

Acting Chatham County superintendent Col. George Bowen, a veteran himself, admits he didn't expect this change to cause such a controversy. "At the time the calendar committee put it together, we didn't think too much about it. But veterans started calling us."

Not all veterans think it's a bad idea, like Vietnam vet Robert Juneo. "I would love for kids to go to school on Memorial Day and have the school system explain to them what it means, rather than give them a day at the beach," he said.

But other veterans, and kids, acknowledge the importance of the holiday. Many are now just hoping the school board does, too.

And fifth grader Jack Gore says surviving veterans deserve the honor. "They're very important because they fought for our country and survived it and came back,"

Col. Bowen says the Department of Education will make its final decision about classes on Memorial Day on May 8, but right now he is optimistic that students will have off that day.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com