Bement school superintendent seeks end to two days off
BEMENT – Students in the school district won't learn much about Veterans Day if they don't attend classes.
That's what Superintendent Darrell Stevens thinks, and that's why Bement is holding a hearing to waive Veterans Day and Lincoln's birthday as school holidays.
The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at the high school principal's office at 201 S. Champaign St. in Bement.
Stevens said he's not suggesting waiving the observance of the holidays because he objects to what they represent. On the contrary, it is because he believes the schools do a good job of emphasizing the importance of Veterans Day.
"We work closely with veterans organizations ý to make sure it's one of the most widely recognized days in the school year," Stevens said.
He believes students learned more about Veterans Day in the classroom rather than spending the day away from school.
Students in every classroom participate in activities to learn about wars and the veterans that served in them, he said.
Harry Porter served in the Illinois National Guard after the Korean War and before the Vietnam War.
The Bement resident said he doesn't have a strong opinion as to whether or not students attend classes on Veterans Day.
"But if they learn anything about it (at school,) it's better than being out, running around," Porter said.
Before requiring students to attend school on Veterans Day, Stevens spoke with several members of Bement veterans associations, including Jean Jones, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.
"We want them to be in school," Jones said. "Having (activities) in the school is such a wonderful thing." Stevens said another reason he'd like to have students at school on Veterans Day and Lincoln's birthday is the sometimes awkward timing of such holidays. Both may fall in the middle of the week, disrupting teachers' class schedules and parents' child care plans.
This hearing represents the second time Bement has waived such school holidays. The district did so five years ago, and each waiver lasts five years.
Stevens said he doesn't expect any parents to protest at the Dec. 13 hearing, which is a state requirement.
"No one came the last time we had it," Stevens said. "It's not really a big deal."