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'It's too important to just let this day pass:' Mother gives her own MLK Jr. Day lesson to kids

Posted: 6:24 PM, Jan 20, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-20 19:24:58-05

While some schools were in session for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, one mother pulled her kids out of class to give them an immersive lesson on King's legacy.

"It's too important to just let this day pass with the worksheets or short reading," said Dawn Hutchison-Weiss.

For the last five years on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Hutchison-Weiss has pulled her kids and their friends out of class in Oak Creek.

They spend the holiday in Milwaukee learning about civil rights and Dr. King.

"I have friends of all different races like he played a big part in that so it's important to spend the day learning about him," said 7th grader Mesa Weiss.

"They know this is not a fun day off of school that this is an educational day so we make them reflect on the day afterward," said Dawn.

This year they started at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee learning about how Jews and African Americans were allies in the fight for civil rights.

They moved to Sherman Phoenix where they put their dreams into writing.

Young Lylah dreams that one day women will be treated equally as men.

Fourth-grader Ada Weiss wrote her dream that people will not be rude to those who are different than them.

From there the group headed to the Martin Luther King Library where they joined other kids making buttons proudly showing an image of the civil rights icon.

At the end of the day, Dawn hopes this tradition teaches more than history.

"I hope that my children learn to be good people in this world and to take action against injustice and to understand that the good of all is important," said Dawn.

Historically, the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District has observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day but they did not give students the day off.

The superintendent says they observe the holiday with different experiences at their schools from a peace march to deep reading, writing, and discussion. They also support families who take their students out of class to honor Dr. King's contributions. Starting next year students will have the holiday off.

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