Staff has traded its Memorial Day holiday for Monday-Wednesday of spring break week, giving all staff a paid full week off. The board of trustees approved the decision Jan. 21.
Other holidays Staff Council suggested, gathered from staff across the district, were Good Friday and Battle of Flowers. The only other holiday in the spring semester is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
District 8 trustee Gary Beitzel was not wrong to be troubled at the suggestion of reporting to work on Memorial Day. Beitzel, along with so many others in a military city, retired from military service. He served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 40 years.
Despite reservations about Memorial Day, he suggested staff work the Labor Day holiday in addition to Memorial Day to make the trade equal, which is a “slap in the face” to the American workforce.
This is a perfect representation of how individuals place value on holidays. These days are all holidays because they represent the diverse people making up the melting pot of the United States and this district.
Asking staff to trade an established holiday for spring break is politically incorrect. More so, asking staff to rate these holidays to find a consensual sacrifice begs a moral dilemma.
Memorial Day, a national holiday since 1971, is an observance in memory of those who died serving in the U.S. armed forces.
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Texas has recognized it since 1987.
The Battle of Flowers holiday is “puro” San Antonio, a local tradition since 1914. It honors those who died at the Battle of the Alamo and the victory for Texas independence at San Jacinto.
Since 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, made a national holiday in 2000, has been celebrating the birthday of the man the day is named after and the civil rights movement he championed. San Antonio is recognized as host of the largest march in the U.S.
Giving up any of these holidays is culturally insensitive considering the rich history of each event.
Chancellor Bruce Leslie had it right when he suggested giving staff all previously approved holidays and spring break off.
The board needs to revisit this decision and give staff their hard-earned holidays back.