Good Friday absenteeism warrants calendar consideration, Stewart says
Student and staff absenteeism were abnormally high on Good Friday, April 6, Pinellas County school superintendent John Stewart told board members Tuesday during a board workshop. He said no-shows included about 696 teachers, 86 of 496 bus drivers and 90 percent of one teacher's first-period class.
"We're throwing away a day of instruction there, is what it amounts to," Stewart said.
The school chief said he's asked the head of the district's calendar committee to make sure such data is considered during the creation of the calendar, although he sounded as though he wants to be careful not to inflame the debate around public schools and religious holidays. He suggested such days could simply be designated non-student days during which employees work.
"We don't want to get into the area of church and state," he said.
Board member Terry Krassner said that in the proposed 2012-13 school calendar, Good Friday already falls within the Spring Break period.
Stewart said after the meeting that he would not advocate putting any such change into policy, but to make it a "way of work." "One must always realize that you can't emphasize one religion over the other," he said.