Weather creates M.L. King Day controversy

Jan. 15, 2011 at 1:39 PM
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ATLANTA, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- School officials in southern U.S. states are under fire for mandating students show up for classes Monday on Martin Luther King Day to make up for snow days.

Various federal and state statutes mark Jan. 17 as a public holiday to honor the birthday of the black civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968.

However, unusual winter weather has created a problem for some southern school boards, The New York Times reported from Atlanta.

So-called snow days that closed schools created a shortage of class time, and some school districts in Georgia, North and South Carolina have decided to make up for them by requiring attendance on Monday, which would have been King's 82nd birthday.

That doesn't sit well with civil rights advocate the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Times said.

"We're urging people to keep their kids home," he told the newspaper. "It's un-American not to observe the holiday."

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