Hunting days a calendar concern for schools

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By Sarah Harmon, Staff Writer
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

The high amount of absenteeism in school on the first days of hunting season was a point of discussion Thursday at the Marshall County Board of Education's second public meeting on the school calendar at Cameron High School.

About 20 parents, students and teachers attended the meeting to review the county's "working calendar" and give input on what they would like to see for the 2014-15 school year.

Some expressed some concern on a presented calendar, which had students starting class Aug. 18, but did not allocate days off for the first day of deer hunting season Nov. 24. Cameron teachers said not only will many students skip school that day even if school is in session, but teachers will as well.

"I'm a deer hunter myself, but when I was a teacher I still showed up to school on the first day of hunting season," board member John Miller said. "The problem for a teacher is when only 50 percent of your students show up. When do you teach the other students?"

Instead of starting break the day before Thanksgiving, the crowd suggested starting the break Nov. 24 and making up the two extra vacation days some other time in the semester. Superintendent Michael Hince said those days would most likely be tacked on to the beginning of the year in order to make sure the semester ends by Christmas break.

The audience also seemed pleased the county will be discarding Cameron's modified calendar and will be putting the county on the same schedule next year.

"I think a lot of energy was spent on the fact that we were on different calendars," Hince said. "I can give you the pros and cons for both calendars, but neither are worth being the focus. There is already a geographical divide between Cameron and the rest of the county, there doesn't need to be any other divide."

Hince said the board will take the input from the public calendar meetings to make a final calendar for submission to the state. The board is required to send in a calendar to the West Virginia State Board of Education for approval in May.