Some Iowa City parents keep kids home to honor MLK - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some Iowa City parents keep kids home to honor MLK

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Many parents didn't realize class was scheduled for Martin luther King, Jr. Day in the Iowa City Community School District until it was too late. The district used the day to teach students about Dr. King, but some parents still kept their kids home.

At Grant Wood Elementary School, each student cut out a hand print in his or her skin color. The school put the cutouts together to write the word peace.

"Think about the history of the Civil Rights movement as a whole and how that's impacted the history of the United States and our own personal histories," said Linda Grigsby, Grant Wood Elementary Teacher. 

Students there learned about King's values, like service and respect.

"Martin Luther King, he showed respect to everybody and we always want to show respect because we want to treat others the way we want to be treated," said Ben Jaspers, 6th Grade. 

However, nearly a quarter of the school's students stayed home Monday.

Many parents chose to teach their kids about King in their own ways, like participating in the annual Unity in the Community event.

"This event is for us to recognize and honor Dr .Martin Luther King, his legacy just goes on," said Royceann Porter, Community Activist. 

Porter was among parents who spoke at a recent school board meetings, trying to get the holiday off. It was too late to change this year's calendar but the board has already promised the day off next year.

"The board listened to that and said that they understood those concerns," said Stephen Murley, Iowa City Superintendent. "They understood that direction that the community would like to head with this and so moving forward this will be considered a holiday."

Several smaller Iowa districts also had school and parents like Porter hope they'll also reconsider.

"Everyone should honor Dr. Martin Luther King," said Porter.

Porter received an award from Governor Branstad in honor of her efforts to spread Dr. King's message.
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