There’s a growing chorus of voices in Prince William County from parents and teachers to make Inauguration Day a school holiday. This actually seems like a great idea. If we want our children to be civic minded then what better way then to have them be aware of the swearing in of the new President. It’s just one day every four years, so I don’t see a downside to this one. For more information, there’s an article in

44 Thoughts to “School Holiday for Inauguration Day?”

  1. Chris

    Given our proximity to DC, this should have already been a long standing holiday.

  2. NotGregLeteicq

    I have only one problem with that, and its a selfish one. I’m going to be there in the crowd and if its a holiday, the crowd will be so large I’ll never find my way out again.

  3. Pat.Herve

    I have a problem with that – how many children will be off from school where neither parents nor child will go to the Inauguration? My company certainly will not give me the day off, and if I want to choose a day off, it will not be Jan 20.

  4. I think it’s dumb. Most parents won’t teach their children about it, and most kids won’t care. At least if they are in school, they will be forced to learn about it!

  5. Elena

    Hmmm, interesting thought Pinko. This mornings topic on C-Span was civic knowledge and participation. The guest was talking about a severe deficit in the understanding of how our government works by the majority of citizens. Apparently he did a research project where he randomly asked questions and very few people knew the most basic answers. I believe Sandra Day O’Connor was leading a project to educate children more on civics and citizen participation in Govermnent.

    Did you all hear the city is expecting 4 MILLION people for the inaugeration!!!

  6. Moon-howler

    Traditionally, Inauguration Day is not a school holiday. Excused absences are used if a child goes to the inauguration. There are only so many tickets, probably less than 1200 for Virginians. Let kids stay in school. The calendar has been set for several years. The Inauguration is not a surprise.

  7. Thanks Elena. And yes, one of my more “blunt” statements 🙂

  8. JustinT

    I think this calls for a Professional Wrestling analogy. I feel confident that the current generation of kids will grow up and be more involved in politics because the contrast between President Obama and President Bush will be so great.

    If there are not a lot of Pro Wrestling fans on this blog, let me explain that the way they make the matches interesting is that the bad guys are REALLY REALLY BAD. They lie and cheat and double-cross in order to win. They brag about their victories and insult their opponents. And, in American politics, we have out-going heavyweight champion George “The Torturer” Bush, and his manager Richard “The Dick” Cheney.

    Also, Pro Wrestling often use international rivalries to contrast good guys from bad guys. For those who saw Obama as the bad guy during this past election, it was easy to draw the contrast with him being a foreigner in their eyes, even a different skin color. Now, I haven’t watched Pro Wrestling for a long time, but when I watched it on Channel 20 on Sunday’s at 10 AM every week throughout my childhood, they always made the bad guys EXTRA bad by making them come from Mongolia, or Uganda, or the USSR, or Iran.

    For young Republicans growing up, Barack Obama is the Ugandan Giant.

    For young Democrats growing up, George Bush is Ray “The Crippler” Stevens.

    John McCain would have to be “Classy” Freddie Blassie.

    And just for fun:

    Corey Stewart = Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

    Greg Letiecq = “Captain Lou” Albano

    John Stirrup = “Big John” Studd (who is from NoVA)

    Marty Nohe = Ivan “The Polish Hammer” Putski

    Frank Principi = Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

    Chief Deane = Andre The Giant (before he turned bad for a few years and fought Hulk Hogan)

  9. Moon-howler

    Pinko, I pretty much agree with you.

  10. JustinT


    Barack Obama = Jimmy “The Superfly” Snuka.

  11. Turn PW Blue

    No reason for PWC schools to get the day off. If they truly want to use this as a “teachable moment” incorporate some special events in the normal school day–like broadcast the swearing in on the close circuit TV system or hold an assembly and watch the swearing in with the class. Do some civics projects.

    The only reason Federal employees in the District will get the day off is because the city is expecting so many people and getting Federal employees off the road makes sense from a logistics point of view (especially for those who work along or very close to the parade route and National Mall).

    Given that January 19 is already a holiday (Martin Luther King, Jr., Day) do you really think PWC parents will use the day to teach civics or will it just be a nice 4-day weekend?

  12. Moon-howler

    Governor Napolitano of Arizona chosen to head homeland security. She has been very critical of illegal immigration.

  13. NotGregLeteicq

    I don’t think “illegal immigration” will remain a big issue for much longer.

    It would be great if our Homeland Security offices could focus on keeping us safe instead of all this immigration business. If we can fix the legal immigration process so that it doesn’t take 20 years and so that our labor needs are met, we won’t have such a mess to deal with on our borders.

  14. Chris

    Even though I think it would be a fine idea for PWC. I can also, see the downside. The real joke may come 1/20/2009, and there’s a dusting of snow, and school gets called off for a snow day. This is not beyond the realm of possibilities.

    The county is excusing absences and that’s fine. It’s never been a holiday before, and I really don’t see why to change now. Having grown up in this area, I really feel we do not take full advantage of all the sights, museums, historical places of interest, etc. we have with in less than an hours drive. The inauguration is no different.

    I really don’t care one way or the other what the schools do. Although, I have wondered why it was a holiday in the past. It’s not like it’s an annual event.

    Turn PW Blue,
    I the “pleasure” NOT of working at 6th & D Sts NW for the inaugurations in 1989 and 1991. It really doesn’t get much closer than that. I sure wish the attorney I was working for had not sent me down there on those days, but you do what you have to do. I can’t imagine doing that now.

  15. Lucky Duck

    Gov. Napolitano was the first Governor to call for the use of National Guard troops on the border.

  16. Chris

    corr: Although, I have wondered why it was *NOT* a holiday in the past.

  17. Justin, that was GREAT! LOL! And I don’t even watch wrestling…..

    PW, I have to admit, I would just turn it into a long weekend and some plans to go away. Sure, we would talk about inaugurations but not much. To be honest, while I skim the articles, I think the election and what happen AFTER inaugurations are more important anyway.

    Besides, my kids hear me talking about politics, volunteering, going to BOCS meetings and social issues enough. I think they get the point.

  18. Moon-howler

    NGL, I think the people of AZ might disagree with you on that one. I think if you are in a border state, things look a little different. Of course immigration is just one component of homeland security.

  19. NotGregLeteicq

    If there was a terrorist trying to get into our country, why would they bother with the dessert and the fences and the guards? The Canadian border is wide open.

    If the immigration hysteria had anything at all do do with national security, we’d be worried about the Canadian border, the only border over which an intended terrorist traveled to get into our country.

    But no, that border is wide open. Un-manned.

  20. NotGregLeteicq

    The people of AZ who stupidly allowed their idiot politicians to ruin their economy were worried about something entirely different than national security. They were worried about the type of stuff that Second Alamo worries about. Cultural purity and who speaks what language to whom.

  21. Moon-howler

    Don’t know. I have never been down on their border, just Canadian.

    I believe they meaning DHS is worried about the porousness of both borders. I believe the Arizona issues are over property etc. We cannot have open borders anywhere, for whatever reason.

    But the main question was whether illegal immigration is going to continue to be an issue–yes it will be to someone until there is immigration reform. The issue is far from settled. I don’t know who suggested it was.

  22. Juturna

    Agree with Pinko.

  23. ==if the immigration hysteria had anything at all do do with national security, we’d be worried about the Canadian border, the only border over which an intended terrorist traveled to get into our country.==

    Do you mean GL?

  24. NotGregLetiecq

    Hahahaha, no Pinko, I was thinking og the Millenium bombers.

  25. Juturna

    ……the lawyer from Atlanta with TB (?) or some other terrible disease that.

  26. Tenacious

    This is a speech that Gov Janet Napolitano made last year. I have spent a lot of time on the Arizona border working with migrants and studying border issues. I believe she really “gets” the issues of immigration and US/Mexico border security.

    I am not sure I am linking this correctly but here goes…

  27. Moon-howler

    Thank you Tenacious, for that link. I think I have been calling Janet, Jean. So sorry.

  28. Tenacious

    Moon-howler, I have been very concerned about who would take over DHS because of my interest in border issues. I think the choice of Gov Napolitano is very centrist but I can live with that given she is someone who understands the situation on the border and the danger it poses to the multitudes of desperate immigrants crossing each day. I hope the new administration will finally acknowledge and deal with the global dynamics and failed policies driving illegal immigration.

  29. Moon-howler

    I generally agree with the centrists. That way both sides can get mad at me.

  30. Tenacious

    I even think I WAS a centrist…for a moment or two. 🙂

  31. Good letter Alanna!

    DiRT of course missed the point and is back to her evil self. Loser.

  32. Jason

    I think its a good idea, especially if its done in a way to encourage civic mindedness in kids.

    I really think its far more important to make election day a federal holiday though.

  33. DiversityGal

    I know a lot of school staff members in PWC who are looking for the day off on Inauguration Day. Of course, no one I know can get tickets, but everyone is talking about having gatherings to celebrate it, or trying to get into DC/near DC venues to gather/watch on screen/celebrate.

    In PWC, because Inauguration Day falls right next to a holiday, employees cannot take the day as a personal day. This means that anyone who would like to take the day as a personal day will have to file an appeal with Central Office. If even a handful of employees in each school plan to take the personal day, imagine the amount of appeals streaming into Central Office. Imagine the amount of substitute teachers that will have to be hired. Things to consider…

  34. Moon-howler

    Or they can do what those before them have done…cough-sneeze-wheeze-choke.

    Not having the school buses running in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun would really ease the traffic situation, for sure.

    The joke will be when Jan 20 becomes a snow day anyway.

    The flip side is the parents who have to make special arrangements for child care. They will all moan and groan. Whe I was a kid, any day off was a good day 🙂

  35. You Wish

    MH –

    Fairfax doesn’t have school on Inauguration Day for that very reason – traffic is a nightmare and many of the bus routes use 95, 395, 495 and 66.

    Not only will it help traffic, but help with the budget, also –

    And DG is right – as a former PWCS employee, if you take a day off before or after a holiday without permission from the superintendent, you are charged 1/10 of your pay. Even if you get a sub. You have to have a pretty good reason to take the day off (wedding, birth or death, basically) in order to get it “excused”.

  36. Princess Billy-Bob

    Personal illness does not fall under the personal leave guidelines.

    I would guess that calendar should be negoiated in the future, for 2012. The School board is loathe to change its calendar once it is printed.

    I have never heard of the 1/10 of your pay. Do you mean annual salary? Why would the person not get 1/195 of their pay docked? I believe that 1/10th must be a Prince William County urban legend. That would sure be an expensive day off.

  37. DiversityGal

    Actually, the PWCS calendar is changed all the time. Very frequently, and I mean most years, the last day of school is changed. It is always listed as a full day at the start of the school year, and it is changed at the last minute to a half day. Also, this year there was a work day before conferences, and a conference day on Election Day. That was switched after the start of the year (conference day THEN a work day on Election Day). They can change it if they are so moved:)

  38. You Wish

    Princess Billy-Bob –

    Not a legend – it happened to a co-worker of mine. For clarification, it was 1/10 of their pay period (bi weekly), so it came out to be less than $100. You are correct that personal illness doesn’t fall under personal leave, but the schools are very skeptical about it when you take leave before or after a holiday.

    I got married on the Saturday before spring break and I wanted to take that Friday off to wrap up odds and ends. I had to not only write a letter to the school board asking to take that day off, but produce my wedding invitation to verify that I was actually getting married on that date. I don’t know what is worse – that the county is that skeptical or that there are people out there who lied about getting married in order to get a head start on spring break 🙂

  39. I wonder what your opinion would have been had Republicans suggested something similar in 2001 for GWB’s inauguration?

  40. DiversityGal

    Good point, James. I guess I never really thought about attending an inauguration until now. I think that is because I was never as involved in the election process (attending rallies, volunteering for voter registration) until now.

    Back in the times of GW’s inauguration for his first term, I was not as bitter about him as I am now. I did not vote for him, and I was suspicious because of the vote controversy, but I didn’t have a full-on crying jag the way I did when he was re-elected. I honestly don’t think I would have had a problem with inauguration day being a holiday back then.

    Here’s the thing…whether you voted for the winning candidate or not, it is easy to see the importance of the date, right? I cannot stand GW, and I will certainly be glad when Obama takes office, however let me give you an example. Recently, I attended the Pentagon Memorial Dedication. I found it thrilling to be there in the same vicinity as the President. I was even jazzed that a friend of mine got a kiss on the cheek from him. His office is still an important and historic one, even if I do not agree with him.

    Of course, having my candidate win this election has helped me see why this may be an important holiday to celebrate with fellow citizens. I realize my bias, and I will own it. However, it doesn’t mean that in years to come, it won’t benefit Republicans who want to party hearty. I think what I am trying to say here is that this is an important day for all, as every inauguration day should be. It is a change that is long overdue.

  41. DiversityGal

    Why am I in moderation?

  42. Moon-howler

    DiversityGal, I will email you the answer to that question.

    You might have said Voldemort’s name.

  43. Your neighboring state is discussing this:

    I think the point is that this is a historic election because this is a black president. That alone will drastically change who decides to show up for this, since it is a singularly momentous occasion. A one time pass at the least, for the reasons of school planning and logistics that Diversity Gal and other posters have noted, is valid.

    Obviously, Montgomery County, MD and Fairfax County, VA have greater accessibility to the inauguration, so whether or not Prince William’s County should have the day off is a different debate.

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