Resources

Can Martin Luther King day be used as a makeup school day? Are there any rules which identify what can and cannot occur on a holiday?

Short answer to this question is -- Martin Luther King Day cannot be a school day where students are in attendance. There are a couple of different state laws which identify what activities can and cannot take place on legal school holidays.

The first state law which is relevant is ORS 187.010. This is a general law identifying the following as State holidays: (a) Each Sunday, (b) New Year’s Day on January 1, (c) Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday on the third Monday in January, (d) Presidents Day, for the purpose of commemorating Presidents Washington and Lincoln, on the third Monday in February. (e) Memorial Day on the last Monday in May, (f) Independence Day on July 4, (g) Labor Day on the first Monday in September, (h) Veterans Day on November 11, (i) Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November, (j) Christmas Day on December 25.

The law goes on to state each time a holiday, other than Sunday, actually falls on Sunday, the succeeding Monday shall be a legal holiday. Each time a holiday falls on Saturday, the preceding Friday shall be a legal holiday. In addition the law allows parties who to addressed this issue in a collective bargaining agreement and to agree to different terms and conditions for holidays.

In addition to ORS 187.010, there is a state law which specifically addresses the issue of school holidays -- that statute is ORS 336.010. This law states the following: (1) school districts cannot require students to attend school on Saturday or any other legal school holiday -- including holidays identified in 187.010; (2) the following ARE NOT school holidays Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, admission of Oregon into the Union on February 14, President's Day, Washington’s Birthday on February 22, Columbus Day on October 12 and on January 15, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s actual date of birth but school districts are required to set aside a portion of the day for appropriate activities to observe this days.

ORS 336.010 goes on to state that the third Monday in January, which the date designated for Martin Luther King's Birthday shall be a legal school holiday. But school employers are not required to make this a paid holiday unless it is negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement.

For more information on this question, Ask Betsy's Team.