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School on Veterans Day Could Become Permanent

The president of the Cheshire Board of Education says programs to honor veterans in schools can teach children more than giving them a day off.

Calling the decision to keep school open on Veterans Day a success, the president of the Board of Education wants to continue the practice in the future.

Board of Education President Gerry Brittingham, an honorably discharged Marine veteran, said he would like the school board to consider holding classes on Veterans Day again next year.

Traditionally, schools in Cheshire and surrounding towns have observed the holiday by giving students the day off. Although this year Veterans Day fell on a Sunday, many districts observed the Nov. 11 holiday by closing school on Monday.

Cheshire school officials, at Brittingham's suggestion, decided to keep school open and used the day to educate students about the importance of veterans and their service. Each of the town's schools held special ceremonies or invited veterans to speak to students about their experiences.

"This was a trial year," said Brittingham, noting Veterans Day is a school holiday in the 2013-2014 calendar. He said the calendar could still be revised if there was enough support and is asking the public for feedback.

"Please let us know, good or bad, what you think about having this type of school day on Veterans Day," he told the audience during last week's school board meeting.

Brittingham said he attended the observance at Cheshire High School, which was sponsored by BRAVE, a student organization that focuses on veterans' issues. He said it was thrilling to watch the students interacting with the veterans.

"The genuine care and consideration and interest was very heartwarming," he said. "It was one of the better things that I've been able to see and participate in since I've lived in this town."

Although initially there were some concerns that veterans might object to keeping school open, Brittingham said the feedback he's received has been "phenomenal" and "the veterans with whom I spoke were very pleased."

Brittingham recalled a Veterans Day in the past when he was working in another town. While there, he saw a group of boys who had the day off from school playing basketball.

"There's nothing wrong with that," Brittingham said. "But what did that teach them about veterans, or service or patriotism?"

"I remain firm in my belief that (keeping school open) is a far better way to teach about the day," he said.

pat westrich November 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM
I heard many positive comments about the program at the high school. A WWII vet told me how pleased he was with the idea. I agree with keeping school open to allow time to discuss the reason for observing Veterans Day.
John Scwartzel November 20, 2012 at 05:25 PM
obviously this is not a politically correct day. Would they make the kids go to school on MLK day and bring in a black person to teach rights.

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