LA schools mull excusing absences on Genocide remembrance day

LA schools mull excusing absences on Genocide remembrance day

PanARMENIAN.Net - The board of the Los Angeles Unified School District is set to vote Tuesday, April 23 on whether to give special recognition to the memory of the Armenian Genocide, potentially instituting April 24 as a school holiday and introducing district-wide professional development to deepen staff knowledge of the subject, Los Angeles Daily News reports.

Put forward for an April 23 meeting by board member Kelly Gonez – who represents schools in the northeast San Fernando Valley – the resolution commemorates anew the month of April and day of April 24th as ‘Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day’ while also making new commitments that come as a boon to the district’s significant Armenian student population.

April 24 is marked around the world as a memorial day of the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Government starting in 1915. Thousands of members of L.A.’s Armenian community march each year in Hollywood each year on the day, calling on U.S. leaders to join other countries in recognizing it.

The Armenian Genocide is already part of LAUSD’s curriculum, but the resolution cited a need for greater cultural sensitivity and knowledge within it — recommending that Superintendent Austin Beutner “expand professional development opportunities” for district staff to ensure the Armenian Genocide is “appropriately and meaningfully” taught. The details of such a program are left for him to configure.

It also asks the superintendent to “report back” in 120 days with a “plan to better accommodate Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day,” suggesting he designate April 24 as a possible ‘pupil-free’ or ‘unassigned’ day — similar to consideration given on Yom Kippur for Jewish students – for future years.

According to the resolution, Armenian students are absent at more than double normal rates on April 24 to attend marches and other community events.

Tuesday’s vote wouldn’t change school attendance policy for April 24 of this year. A successful resolution would be put into effect in future years.

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