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Politics & Government

Delaware could be first state to give students time off for civic activities

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Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
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A new bipartisan bill in the General Assembly would give children a day off of school for civic education.

 

This kind of bill would be the first of its kind in the country, giving children one day a year they could use to attend anything civic related, be it a protest, a trip to Leg hall, or speaking on behalf of a bill they’re passionate about.

 

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Eric Morrison, says he was inspired by the few school districts across the country that have created this excuse, as a means to bring more hands-on civic education to kids.

 

“It’s one thing, and it’s absolutely necessary to read about history, but to actually get yourself out there and become a part of history and engage in society in such meaningful ways, you just can't experience that in a classroom,” said Morrison.

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Credit Delaware General Assembly
State Rep. Eric Morrison

 

Morrison says permitted excuses are currently defined by the school district themselves. He says if some school districts let kids take time off to go hunting, they should be able to take a day to learn more about their democracy.

 

He says providing kids a hands on experience in their political system will help bolster their civic education, and encourage them to get involved.

 

“So many young people have so many wonderful ideas that we really want to engage them — and this way they are not only engaged now but they stay engaged as adults,” he said.

 

Morrison adds this is designed to be a non-partisan bill, the definition of a civic engagement activity is intentionally vague. He says it doesn’t matter what kind of protest you go to, but participating in our political system will foster more engaged and thoughtful voters in the future.

 

The bill already has 24 other sponsors signed on, including a few Republican lawmakers.

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