California City’s Schools Extend Break For Immigrants

Reuters, Dec. 19, 2006

A Southern California school district where 92 percent of the students are Latino has extended its winter break an extra week, in part to give immigrant families time to travel home to Mexico and Central America for Christmas.

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“What we had experienced before is that people would take a little extra time off at Christmas and miss school,” Santa Ana Unified School District spokeswoman Susan Brandt said on Tuesday. “Some of our families do choose to go back and visit relatives in Mexico. That was the issue.”

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She said the travel plans of immigrant families were one factor considered and that teachers also appreciated the longer break. The additional days will be made up at other times in the school year.

“This issue tends to trigger a lot of reaction from different sides but it wasn’t a political decision,” Brandt said. “This is based on research and looking at ways to keep our attendance levels up,” she said.

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