Nevertheless, Wyoming is not as united as one would think when it comes to recognizing this federal holiday. Oh sure, you won’t find a Wyoming bank or post office open anywhere on MLK day, but when it comes to education, it’s a mixed bag.
As an employee of Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, our doors will be locked up tight on MLK day. The first day of the new semester begins the following day. Even in past years, when the first day of the semester came before King’s holiday, the college still observed MLK day by closing the campus on that Monday.
Yet, in the same town, the local public schools have and will continue to conduct classes like any other day.
Since I’m not a public holiday expert and wondering if MLK Day was some kind of “minor” holiday, I looked up all of the official Federal holidays and discovered that MLK Day is right up there with all the other holidays that result in the closure of our banks, post offices and schools.
Here are the country’s official Federal holidays in chronological order: New Year’s Day, MLK Day, Inauguration Day (every four years), Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
I called someone tonight who works for the schools to see if they could explain to me this obvious oversight on my part. Sadly, they couldn’t explain it or understand it themselves, going as far as saying they found it to be disrespectful of King’s memory.
At first I thought it might be some kind of mandate from the Wyoming Board of Education, but I see several other public schools (i.e., Laramie County and Natrona County Schools) around the “Equality State” will be closed in observance of MLK day including the schools in Cody which are in the same county as Powell.
Ironically, there were no classes last Monday for the Powell Schools although teachers were present for an in-service meeting.
Coincidentally next month, the country will observe Washington’s Birthday which will find things turned around here in Powell—the college will still hold classes, but the public schools will be off for the day.