East Texas School Holds Classes On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Monday, most government and city offices were closed.  Most public schools also observed the holiday, but classes went on as normal at one East Texas school district, Monday.  Some parents feel it's a dishonor to Dr. King.

Dark and empty buildings were a common sight around the city of Arp, Monday.  At Arp High School, however, classes were on as usual.  It's something that took some parents by surprise.

"This is the first I've known them to have school on Martin Luther King day, and I think it's not complementary to any of the kids there because he fought for everybody," said Arp ISD Grandparent Theodora Green.

"I think it should be observed," said Arp Junior High Parent Tonia Cornett.  "It is by everything else.  I don't know why the school doesn't."  Arp Independent School District Superintendent Toney Lowery says today's scheduled school day was an oversight.  He says they always observe the holiday, and did not notice the mistake until last week.

"The calendar has been out since August and nobody brought that to our attention earlier," said Lowery.  "As it approached, a light bulb went off, and we realized we made a mistake, but again we didn't feel on short notice we should try to change it.  We thought it might put too many, especially elementary student parents in a bind."  It's an oversight, some parents like Doris Ware feel should never have happened.

"It makes me feel like someone didn't do their homework because this is only every January," said Ware.  "Martin Luther King, he is a great man.  He was a great man, and he was a great influence and the powerful words he spoke will carry on for generation and generation."  Hopefully, Ware says, so will the tradition of observing the holiday by schools.

Superintendent Lowery says he does want to apologize to anyone that may be offended.  He says the school district does hold a Black History Month program every year during February. Also, any student that decided not to attend school today to observe the holiday will not be disciplined.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com