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KPBS Midday Edition

Scrapped SDUSD mental health day proposal draws scrutiny

The San Diego Unified Board of Education building at 4100 Normal Street, Oct. 24, 2012.
Katie Schoolov
An undated photo of the San Diego Unified Board of Education building at 4100 Normal Street.

San Diego Unified schools will indeed be open this Friday, despite an earlier plan to make it a mental health holiday.

KPBS education reporter MG Perez joined Midday Edition on Wednesday to talk about the controversy the decision spurred.

Dr. Lamont Jackson, interim superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, originally proposed the idea for the day off on Friday, Nov. 12. But many parents pushed back on the proposed day off, citing a lack of advance notice to accommodate the added day off.


"So it really is about building trust and there are a lot of parents who say, 'Wait a minute, how were we not consulted about this decision before you decided to go forward,'" Perez said.

Perez said Jackson denied a connection between the proposed mental health holiday and staffing shortages. Still, staffing remains an issue for the district and Perez said how the district has significantly raised substitute teacher pay as an incentive.

While San Diego schools will be open Friday, students have the option to take an excused absence, should families decide to take the extra day following the Veterans Day holiday.

"What it looks like, ultimately is the idea maybe was a good one, but the execution just failed dramatically," Perez said. "And that's why the superintendent decided we're not even going to take this to the school board and we'll just go ahead as it was planned."