Torrence Creek Elementary School teacher Laura Nottingham used the controversy surrounding the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools decision to have students attend class on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to make up a snow day as a teaching tool. She asked students to write letters to the Herald Weekly about what their thoughts on the decision. Here is a sampling of some of those letters. Read all of those submitted at www.huntersvilleherald.com.
I’m writing this to talk about the school’s decision to use Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a make-up snow day. I have been watching videos, and after hearing both sides I have mixed feelings.
The ‘no school’ side said they won’t send their children to school. Instead, they are going to take their kids to parades and marches. They thought it would be disrespectful to send their kids to school on MLK Day.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg School’s side said they didn’t have a choice. They had to send kids to school. A decision was made two years ago to use MLK day as a make-up day. Dr. Peter Gorman even said he would teach kids about MLK, and that’s what he did.
I think both sides are right. The ‘no school’ side does have the right to be mad, but we should not blame Dr. Gorman. CMS is also right because they didn’t have a choice. We just need to remember that MLK thought education was important and he said you should solve your problems with love.
– Lynelle Huskey, fourth-grader
My name is Anne Burton, and I’m a fourth grade student at Torrence Creek Elementary School. I would like to comment on the Martin Luther King Jr. snow make-up day issue. My class and I have been learning about stakeholders and their viewpoints from our Literacy Talent Development teacher, Mrs. Amy Jordan. We have been doing many projects revolving around many subjects and one of the projects was the MLK snow day issue.
I think that the choice Dr. Peter Gorman and the school board made was a good decision. I learned way more at school about Martin Luther King Jr. than I ever would have at home. Usually, when we have a day off of school, I am so busy with friends and other activities I forget why we were out of school in the first place.
I also have some facts from articles and news videos my teacher Mrs. Laura Nottingham gave us. Another fact is if you walked through the halls of my school during the week of MLK day, you would see bulletin boards crammed full of pictures of MLK, opinions about the decision and stories written about him. Many people (including many of my classmates) have mixed feelings about the makeup day, but some are sure about their decision.
“I think I’m glad that we had school on MLK Day because then we can learn about him!” one of my classmates, Olivia Tarpley said.
– Anne Burton
My name is David Hogg. I am a fourth grade student at Torrence Creek Elementary. I’m in Mrs. Laura Nottingham’s classroom, which is Talent Development. I don’t think that it’s fair that we had to go to school on Martin Luther King Jr Day. One reason is that they said we would have a day off on MLK Day. Another reason is that the calendar that had all of our days off was put in the garbage can because we got new ones that said we had to go to school that day.
Our parents think we should go to school because we learn and they get peace and quiet. My mom got an e-mail that said peace and quiet is golden, but duct tape is silver. I don’t think that’s true, through. I’m sort of on both sides because I think we should go to school for our learning sake, but we could learn some at home, too. And also play with our friends longer than we do at recess. There were about 30,000 kids that didn’t come to school on MLK Day. Lots of people were protesting but do you remember why there was supposed to be a holiday? The reason was because Martin stopped something really big with love.
I’m writing to state my opinion on the MLK make-up day. I have mixed feelings about this. It was OK that we went to school and it would’ve been OK to stay home.
The NAACP parents are asking to keep their kids home on MLK Day. The leader of the NAACP, Kojo Nantambu, is upset that had to go to school on MLK Day due to the snow. He was mad about the decision. He started marches and some parents didn’t send their kids to school on MLK Day.
CMS has a different feeling about this. Dr. Gorman said that CMS only has limited flexibility. Two years ago they made the decision to have a make-up day on MLK Day. Teachers said they would celebrate Dr. King by discussing him and his legacy on Jan. 17 to help students understand and observe the holiday.
Like I said before, I have mixed feelings about this. I can’t seem to make up my mind. I hope you consider my viewpoint.
As a fourth grader at Torrence Creek Elementary, I have my own opinion on the MLK Day snow make-up day issue. In school students in my class, Mrs. Nottingham’s class has been learning about this, and it seems everyone thinks something different.
I believe we should have gone to school because the school board only has so much flexibility. The minimum number of school days a year is 180 and I would hate to make up on a break day. It is interesting because 23,888 students were absent in CMS on MLK Day but only a couple in my class.
Martin was all about education. In fact, he uses the term Doctor to show how he earned an important degree. What a better birthday to have kids all over the world learning about you? MLK’s dream was to stop fighting and if you think about it, we’re bringing it back. Maybe we should forget about it because if MLK saw that we are fighting he would not be very happy. I hope you stop and consider my viewpoint.
Hi, my name is Emma Hanse. I’m a fourth grader at Torrence Creek Elementary School. In Mrs. Laura Nottingham’s class, we were discussing different perspectives about having school on Martin Luther King Day. I do understand Dr. Peter Gorman had to take on many different viewpoints on having school on the very important holiday. My teacher told us to try and think of what we would do if we were in Dr. Gorman’s shoes. So, I think having school on MLK Day would be absolutely fine because if I didn’t go to school, I would think about why we don’t have school in the first place. I do hope you consider my perspective about having school on MLK Day. Thank you, have a great day.
My name is Emma McGeough and I am a fourth grader at Torrence Creek Elementary, and I want to tell you my opinion on if we should have had school or shouldn’t have had school on Martin Luther King Day. My opinion is that we should have had school. My three reasons are:
• It’s a national holiday.
• On Martin Luther King Day your supposed to take time our of your day to celebrate what he did. Not go to school.
• Friday was a teacher work day and we could have used that day as a snow make up day.
If you stopped segregation and the day you did that because a national holiday, and you weren’t supposed to go to school but you did, you would be mad too. But, Martin would have wanted us to go to school. And it might have offended some African Americans that we did.
I also think there will more marches and fights when we have to go to school on President’s Day.
My name is Syndey Wooley. I am in Mrs. Laura Nottingham’s fourth grade class. I go to Torrence Creek Elementary school.
I am writing to tell you my opinion about the Martin Luther King Day snow make-up day. I thought we should have school on that day, so I think they made the right decision. But, I know not all of you think that. I know some of the parents got pretty mad. More than 23,000 kids were absent at CMS schools that day.
The kids at Torrence Creek learned a lot about MLK that day.
I hope next year, if we need to use MLK Day as a make up day, the parent will understand why we need to use it.
I’m writing you this letter because people are arguing over if we should or shouldn’t have school on MLK Day. I have two sides. I think we should go to school because NLK really just wanted everyone to have good knowledge. I also think we shouldn’t go to school because what I know about MLK is that he helped the world so that blacks and whites could go to the same school and live in the same neighborhoods. But if we didn’t go to school then we would never learn about him and what he’d done.
So, I think we really should go to school.