Cohen said he read minutes of the boards’ previous meetings, but could not find mention of the boards considering moving the meeting. “However, based on the school board’s meeting on January 2, I can see that moving a meeting by a day is not out of the question,” said Cohen. “The (January) 2nd meeting was moved to avoid New Year’s Day. Why then wasn’t the January 15 meeting moved to the 16th?”
“The federal government deemed (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) a national holiday, but somehow it seems not important enough to the boards,” said Cohen. “We may not have a great number of minority students, but we have enough that respect and honoring a holiday should not have ever been a topic of discussion. And that is the point of the holiday. Regardless of minority representation, students need to understand how this nation works. Dover is an IB school where we think and teach differently. They think globally, and yet the board stumbled by holding a meeting on this important day.”
Cohen said he felt the board must never forget the role they play in modeling the importance of history to students while shaping the future. “Ignoring a holiday such as this could be interpreted as ignoring the importance of civil rights. That’s a very dangerous thing,” said Cohen. “As both a lawyer and a member of the town selectboard, I am very uncomfortable with the board’s lack of respect.”
Cohen said he hoped that in the future, the board would reschedule meetings that conflict with national holidays.
The reading of Cohen’s letter was either well- or ill-timed, depending on one’s perspective. Monday night’s meeting was also held on a national holiday.
“There is no irony lost that today is Presidents Day,” said Cohen.
The boards thanked Cohen for his letter.