Teachers are excused on inauguration day

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Richmond County Superintendent Dana Bedden is making a special exception for teachers and staff members wanting to take off Jan. 20 to participate in activities for the presidential inauguration.

Students will be out because the school calendar set that Tuesday aside as a professional development day. The day before is a federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dr. Bedden developed a special exception for educators wanting to be excused from work on inauguration day.

"We figured for a unique historical event we wanted to create flexibility," he said Tuesday.

Immediately after the election, requests began coming in for time off Jan. 20, Dr. Bedden said. Some principals granted the requests, and some did not. There was no consistency, so he stepped in, allowing principals to permit as much as 5 percent of teaching staffs to take the day off for the inauguration.

There's a catch, however. Teachers must submit the request in advance and present a plan for how they will incorporate the experience into the classroom when they return.

"We expected a pretty sharp uptick (in requests for time off)," Human Resources Director Norman Hill said, but by the close of business Monday only 22 requests had been made.

That's about 1 percent of the system's teaching staff, Mr. Hill said.

Dr. Bedden recalled times while teaching in Washington, D.C., that schools made similar accommodations for significant historic events, but this is the first time he has seen this outside of the nation's capital.

Richmond County spends about $22 million a month on personnel, which comes to about $1 million a day, the superintendent said.

The inaugural day flexibility extends only to Tuesday. Anyone stretching the time off to Wednesday risks losing a day's pay.

"We wanted to be supportive, but also we wanted to be accountable," Dr. Bedden said.

On Jan. 20, the staff development day might also schedule a break coinciding with the inauguration, he said.

Jeff Hubbard, the president of the Georgia Association of Educators, applauded the flexibility of Dr. Bedden and the school system.

"We've had a number of school systems that are being extremely inflexible," he said. "We've had people put in for personal leave months ago, and they've been told if they miss that day they'll be docked pay and it will be put in their personnel file."

Regardless of whether the president is a Democrat or a Republican, a presidential inauguration can provide dramatic teaching moments for students, he said. If school systems can allow time off for class reunions and football games, then they should certainly allow time for such a historic event, Mr. Hubbard said.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

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As It Is
2
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As It Is 01/07/09 - 03:35 am
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One million dollars a day

One million dollars a day spent on personnel in Richmond County and they can't graduate 50% of their high school students. Dr. Bedden sure has a tough job on his hands. The previous administrations and boards hired many wasteful positions and unqualified personnel and slowly but surely change is taking place.

christian134
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christian134 01/07/09 - 05:40 am
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Oh this is wonderful...A

Oh this is wonderful...A precedent is being sent for teachers and students alike to have a holiday every inauguration of a new President...I like that...Am just wondering why this was not implemented sooner after all they are all historic events?

overburdened_taxpayer
117
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overburdened_taxpayer 01/07/09 - 06:01 am
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It wasn't done before because

It wasn't done before because it wasn't a BLACK historical event.

Reality
3
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Reality 01/07/09 - 06:04 am
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Does this apply to all

Does this apply to all Presidential Inaugurations or just this one? I can't believe 22 people are controlling what days off we (taxpayers) pay for....I am sure the curriculum will include this inauguration ................

christian134
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christian134 01/07/09 - 06:22 am
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I feel discriminated

I feel discriminated against...This event, this swearing in of a new President, needs to become not just a local one time event for a new National Holiday...Senators, Congressmen and Representatives make it so...:-)

SCGAL53
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SCGAL53 01/07/09 - 06:30 am
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Oh gee, a paid holiday.

Oh gee, a paid holiday.

AugustaHeph homeowner
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AugustaHeph homeowner 01/07/09 - 06:41 am
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I suppose if you are white

I suppose if you are white you're not covered to be off---GIVE ME A BREAK--FAIR IS FAIR--TALK ABOUT RACE RELATIONS-THIS IS THE TOP OF THE CAKE. Just close the schools and you will save not only on Electric bills, and heat or air but NO ONE will be discriminated against. I can assure all of you if fair is fair, DR. Bedden needs to make a big decision here-5% of staff is not enough to cover discrimination against me or my sisters and brothers in this world.
This is ridiculous-if you are not an OBAMA lover then you get the shaft. Yep MAKE IT A HOLIDAY PERIODDDD,
Don't even ask questions, just close the school system down. SO There!!!! This does not mean I am black or white or mixed or hispanic-it just means I don't like favortism, there is enough in the system as it is. I have seen it happen at three different schools for fact. Guess iI better stop before I get real ugly.

ConsiderThis
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ConsiderThis 01/07/09 - 06:48 am
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Teachers by employment

Teachers by employment agreement are allowed to use up to three days a year as personal days for whatever reason. Given this is a day after a holiday and a professional development day, the decision puts some guidelines/limits on how many people may be absent from work.

55 F-100
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55 F-100 01/07/09 - 06:51 am
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Ridiculous! How to

Ridiculous! How to incorporate this event into a classroom topic? Simple, "students, this is the beginning of a Presidency of shame and regret and lies and deceit. This is the beginning of a Presidency where the overhelming majority of the Democrat voters were recruited to vote for Obama and probably did not complete the rest of the ballot because they could not understand it or just did not care! And the teacher can conclude the lecture by pointing out that the the entire population will pay for the mistakes of the voters who voted based solely on skin color."

harrisjr
0
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harrisjr 01/07/09 - 06:58 am
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Dear Overburdened taxpayer

Dear Overburdened taxpayer kind of make you wonder huh. Most said with our new Black president a change would come. Seems like tthey were right!

christian134
1
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christian134 01/07/09 - 07:02 am
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This holiday sums up this

This holiday sums up this election in a neat little package with a pretty little bow on top...Wow and just when I thought it couldn't get much worse or if for only a moment I might be wrong when coming to the conclusion that this election was about policies and not race...I just popped my hand and bopped my head at the same time for momentary loss of reality...All is as I know it to be...I feel better...:-)

shivas
2
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shivas 01/07/09 - 07:07 am
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Some people are too cynical.

Some people are too cynical. Some people just hate America, especially when a minority is elected President.

christian134
1
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christian134 01/07/09 - 07:13 am
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Some people just want to say

Some people just want to say what they please and have it respected as gospel even if it is wrong...Some people haven't a clue to what is truth and what is "slammed down" right in from of them...Some people want to live with the minority status in their lives without ever just wanting to be people, American people...Yep some people...

2tired2argueanymore
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2tired2argueanymore 01/07/09 - 07:25 am
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Why should they get the day

Why should they get the day off with pay? If there is already some stipulation that allows them to take off during the year for special events that is one thing and this policy should be used but if this is an extra day it is wrong. We are in an economy that is going down hill and cost many people thier jobs and hard earned pay and now we want to give out freebies because Obama got elected? I guess this is handout number 1. More to come.

sgachief
0
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sgachief 01/07/09 - 07:32 am
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this is a bunch of cow dung.

this is a bunch of cow dung. teachers need to be working.

devilishlymad67
0
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devilishlymad67 01/07/09 - 07:41 am
0
0
sounds like a law suit needs

sounds like a law suit needs to be filed for discrimination.

frontporch
37
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frontporch 01/07/09 - 07:44 am
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So this election was about

So this election was about race......or do they do this for every presidential inauguration? If not this is a bunch of cow dung.

christian134
1
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christian134 01/07/09 - 07:44 am
0
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Sounds like eh devishlymad67?

Sounds like eh devishlymad67? Yep...

pah4r
0
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pah4r 01/07/09 - 07:50 am
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What's next for this new

What's next for this new office holder?? Will we now have excused absences for their daughter's birthdays, their anniversary, their pet having a litter. Why are we so enamored about this incoming president versus all that have gone before him??? WHY????

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 01/07/09 - 07:50 am
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Right here, in this column of

Right here, in this column of outraged comments, is stark and concrete proof of why this area is a backwater. Yeah, I said it: a backwater. You people are so obsessed with the possibility that someone might get something for nothing, or that African-Americans might have an occasion such as this marked in a positive way, that you're practically foaming at the mouth. And 55 F-100? You're a racist, pure and simple. ENuff said.

frontporch
37
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frontporch 01/07/09 - 08:09 am
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midwesterntransplant......Yah

midwesterntransplant......Yah...the occasion is called Martin Luther King day. Your a typical liberal demy.

wantchangecashadollar
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wantchangecashadollar 01/07/09 - 08:10 am
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midwesterntransplant...if you

midwesterntransplant...if you hate the South so much then leave, I don't like the Liberal areas of this country so I do not live there or visit...too much BO and hairy women...the argument here is why are the teacher being paid with our tax dollars to be involved in inauguration "events" when this is the first time this has ever happened...there is a good case for discrimination here...when Obama is defated in 2012 after destroyin ghtis country, are they going to give the teachers the day off for that inauguration? They have vacation days make them take them...I could see if they were taking students to the inauguration, but sitting at home watching it on TV, that is crap...once again...if you don't like the South leave...I will pay for your ticket...

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 01/07/09 - 08:11 am
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Sticks and

Sticks and Stones.......midwest........Sticks and Stones. The intelligence in the POST speaks for itself.

griesella
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griesella 01/07/09 - 08:16 am
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This is utterly

This is utterly ridiculous...a day off for a presidential inauguration. That is not over-kill, it is plain and simple murder of all the principles we believe in. GIVE us our ethics and morals back!!! I am ashamed........As for educational purposes, turn the TV on when you get home from school. Believe me, there will be 24 hour coverage of every hiccup and farz.

mommie2
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mommie2 01/07/09 - 08:24 am
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How is this such a bad thing?

How is this such a bad thing? To see ANY inauguration is a dream of mine. Unfortunately I've used all my sick time when I was out for maternity leave. Teachers have so many sick and personal days to use and if they want to use it to see an inauguration then so be it. It's a teacher workday. The students aren't being hurt in anyway. Think of the pictures and first hand experiences you could use in your class. I teach government and that would be amazing. I wouldn't care who the president is that is getting sworn in. I just want to witness one.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
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overburdened_taxpayer 01/07/09 - 08:26 am
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DVR's also work wonders if,

DVR's also work wonders if, heaven forbid, you have to work and can't watch it live.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
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overburdened_taxpayer 01/07/09 - 08:31 am
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tjohns - you can witness it

tjohns - you can witness it just like most Americans, on TV - either live or recorded. These teachers won't be at the inauguration just attending "activities". It's not even here in Augusta so what activities?

Tired of the BS
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Tired of the BS 01/07/09 - 08:34 am
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Does this have anything to do

Does this have anything to do with the fact that Bedden is black and obama is 1/2 black. I wonder why they do not do this for white presidents. Should whites protest and picket b/c this is a form of discrimination??????
On a note that has nothing really to do with race issues------does Richmond county school students really need to miss a day of school----if anything they should add days-----Why is Columbia County not doing this???????????

griesella
0
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griesella 01/07/09 - 08:34 am
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tjohns...Why don't we just

tjohns...Why don't we just close everything. NObody move.

GO to Washington and stand still and watch the great historical event take place. Bah-Humbug!!!

(I will admit that we saw Pres Eisenhower in a parade on Broad st when I was a child. WE came out of Belk's to see what was happening.) I don't think it ever made a difference in my life, but who knows? }:

mommie2
2
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mommie2 01/07/09 - 08:35 am
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I don't know what the motives

I don't know what the motives are for the other people or what they are going to do. I am simply saying that I would like to attend an inauguration to be there to witness it. Maybe it's my B.A. in history background that makes me so passionate about historical events and every inauguration is historical in my view. It's not the same as watching it on TV. It's one thing to teach about it from a book. It's quite another to be able to relay first hand what it was like.

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