The Wake County School Board’s decision to make up school days missed to snow on Good Friday and two future Saturdays upset many high schoolers throughout the county.
School was cancelled on Tuesday through Friday in both of the last two weeks of February as Raleigh accumulated 8-9 inches of snow. The county needed to enact a plan to restore lost “seat time” in order to meet state requirements and decided on the Saturday plan instead of using designated make-up days on March 23 (the Monday of Spring Break) and June 9-11.
But students from a plethora of different Wake high schools voiced concerns about the new plan.
“I think going to school on a Saturday is unfair and won’t work for high school students,” said Alina Rahman, a Heritage junior, via text. “Everyone has jobs and other activities. I have 9 (am) – 5 (pm) shifts on Saturdays and would have to miss school in order to keep my job.”
“It’s a clear fact that 96% of students will not be present on campus on those two Saturdays,” added Jim Jackson, Enloe student, via text.
The Saturday make-ups days are scheduled to occur once in April and once in May, although specific dates have not yet been announced. The April date could interfere with prom — Leesville’s is on April 25 — while the May date may interfere with a state athletics championship event.
The Saturday make-up day could also cause problems for Leesville theatre’s production of the spring play Legally Blonde.
“If this make up day is any time in April before the 18th, it’s going to affect tech rehearsals for the musical! We would lose an entire all-day work day that, as seen in years past, is critical to the success of our show,” said Natalie Daumen, junior, via text. “It’s a hypothetical situation but a scary thought for everyone involved in Legally Blonde.”
Others were upset about the loss of the Good Friday holiday, which commemorates the death of Jesus.
“It is absolutely uncouth for WCPSS to expect students to come to school [on these days], most especially on a religious day of observance,” said a text responder who wished to remain anonymous. “However, I understand that it’s similar to how Jewish kids don’t get all holidays off for their religion, that it makes logical sense.”
“If we had to make up school on any other religious holiday, the world would go crazy,” said a Knightdale High student. ”But we can take away a Christian holiday. This is awful.”
Others felt that taking the holiday away was acceptable, but that excused absences should be given for those who miss the day.
Discounting the make-up days from factoring into senior exam exemptions, which are removed if a student has a single unexcused absence or a certain number of excused absences, could improve public support. Millbrook High has already extended automatic end-of-course exam exemptions to all seniors who take an AP exam for a class — perhaps another change in the policy could be coming.
Juan Esteller, Leesville senior, offered a potential plan Wake County could use in future years to avoid such scrambling and re-scheduling, given that the district missed nine days to snow last year prior to missing eight this year.
“Wake County should foresee that it will typically cancel days and hence plan in advance. Currently it finds itself struggling to reconcile class time, vacation time and student safety. Its poor management of these make-up days…stem from passivity,” he explained via text.
“I think the best approach for the future would be an ‘optional mid-winter break’ coming in late February that would be planned as vacation but potentially serve as snow make-up days,” noting the title might prevent students from becoming as attached to its existence as they are to Spring Break. “The break would extend the school year but at least the schedule would not fluctuate significantly as it can now.”
It’s obviously too late to implement such a plan this year, though, and dissenters thus remain irritated.