By Diane Knich (Contact)
The Post and Courier – Wednesday, March 11, 2009
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. — A Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter wants Berkeley County schools to close for a day in honor of Confederate Memorial Day, even if the holiday falls on a weekend.
Wade Cheney, a member of the Gen. Ellison Capers Camp 1212 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, brought the group’s concerns to the Berkeley County School Board on Tuesday.
He said the school district closed for the May 10 holiday from 2001 to 2007. Last year the holiday fell on the weekend, as it does this year, and the district didn’t close offices or schools.
Cheney said according to a state law, when the holiday falls on a weekend, state government offices close on either Friday or Monday. He thinks the school district also should close.
Jim Foster, spokesman for the state Department of Education, said individual school districts set their own calendars. Only a handful of districts statewide close for Confederate Memorial Day, he said.
Board member Wilhelmina Moore said to Cheney, "My feeling, as a black person, is it’s a slap in the face."
The Confederate battle flag, she said, "represents slavery."
Cheney said, "We’re not celebrating the flag. We’re celebrating the soldiers."
He would like to see schools and students attend memorial services and learn about history on the holiday, he said.
And he thinks it’s possible to fit in the day, even in the current school year.
"There are days set aside each school year for weather days," he said.
"We could use one of those days."