Lansing school board makes Juneteenth an official school holiday

LANSING — The Lansing School District's Board of Education voted unanimously to make Juneteenth an official school holiday at Thursday's board meeting.

Although the typical school calendar ends before June 19, Lansing School District, like many schools, has summer school and educational programs. Most school staff work throughout the summer.

By making the date a district holiday, the district will now be able to give students and staff the day off to "reflect, enjoy, and celebrate the holiday outside of a school setting," officials said in a release.

"This decision by the Board of Education reflects our commitment to honoring and celebrating the importance of Juneteenth in American history," Superintendent Ben Shuldiner said in a statement. "By making Juneteenth a school district holiday, we acknowledge the significance of emancipation in our country's shared history.

"We look forward to commemorating the holiday with meaningful activities and discussions that promote understanding and unity among our students, staff, and families."

The date, June 19, marks the day in 1865 that enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas were informed that they were freed, more than two months after the end of the Civil War.

In 2023, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill making the date an official state holiday.

Contact Sarah Atwood at satwood@lsj.com. Follow her on X, @sarahmatwood.

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Lansing school board makes Juneteenth a school holiday