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School’s out for games

Last year the Aspen School District attempted to hold school during the X Games, and some 380 of 470 students at Aspen High missed school one afternoon.

The district isn’t about to make the same mistake.

Mass truancy was such an issue last year that former school Superintendent Tom Farrell reportedly told X Games athlete Gretchen Bleiler’s mother that he was upset with Gretchen because “she can close the school down quicker than I can.”



“I walked around at 2:15 Friday, and we pretty much told the kids who were still there just to go and watch,” Farrell said after last year’s event.

Current Superintendent Diane Sirko and her staff made a calender adjustment to address the games ” Aspen students will have Monday off to attend the event. They will join some 48,000 other spectators expected for the X Games.



“Last year after the event we decided to schedule a day off during X Games,” Sirko said. “We felt to do so was to be respectful of a major event in our community, an event that lots of students want to attend.”

The original day off was scheduled for tomorrow. But when ESPN changed its schedule, so did the school district. Aspen High Principal Kendall Evans said excusing students Monday fits in nicely with the school calender. Friday marks the end of the first semester.

“The whole school isn’t off Monday ” teachers and administrators will be here,” he said. “Monday will give the teachers a chance to get the semester grades in and begin planning for next semester’s classes. It provides an appropriate break between semesters.”

Other schools in the valley will be less accommodating to X Games. Aspen Country Day School, a private school, will demand student attendance throughout the competition. Students may be excused with a note from their parents, but are responsible for any class work missed.

Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Fred Wall said that although district officials discussed the possibility of giving students a day off, the district decided against it. Students who miss school for the games will be charged with an unexcused absence.

“We decided that time in school for students was more important than the event,” Wall said.

As for the Aspen district, school will resume as normal Tuesday. Whether students will attend on the final day of X Games is yet to be seen.

“We’ll probably have kids absent Tuesday,” Sirko said. “But there’s only so many days off you can give.”

[Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com]


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