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Chapel Hill schools cancel class during “Day Without a Woman”

School busesHere’s a developing story.

The News & Observer is reporting that Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will be closing next Wednesday. The reason? School officials are expecting a number of missing staff taking note of “Day Without a Woman,” a national protest intended to draw attention to the role of women in American society.

From the N&O:

Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools will be closed to students on March 8 – proclaimed as “A Day Without A Woman” – because the school system expects to be shorthanded.

Durham Public Schools also is discussing closing schools on March 8 but no decision had been made. Superintendent Bert L’Homme said he’ll talk about the possibility with staff and make an announcement on Friday.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Superintendent Jim Causby made the call, changing next Wednesday to a teacher workday. Students won’t be expected to make up the day because the school system is on schedule to meet the required number of instructional hours anyway.

Causby made the decision because principals and other supervisors in the school system reported that they expected a high number of staff members to be absent on March 8.

A Day Without A Woman” is a political protest corresponding with International Women’s Day that encourages supporters to wear red, avoid spending money at businesses unless they are owned by women or minorities, and take the day off from work. It also includes a march in Washington. The national demonstration is intended to emphasize the role of women.

“The expected absences would make it difficult to teach students on March 8 and to provide essential services including transportation and food service,” the school system said in an emailed statement Thursday.

“Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools values and supports its female employees,” the statement read. “However, the decision to close schools is not an endorsement of the planned demonstration. The decision is made solely to avoid operating school on a day when there are insufficient staff to provide instruction and basic school services.”

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system’s employee makeup is 75 percent women.

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