- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2017

In a last-minute decision, Prince George’s County Public Schools has cancelled classes as a result of staffers taking the day off Wednesday for the Day Without a Woman protest.

The district announced late Tuesday that about 1,700 teachers and 30 percent of transportation staff had requested leave for the day.

“We cannot transport students and provide safe, productive learning environments without adequate staff,” said the district statement. “As a result, schools will be closed tomorrow for students. We apologize for the inconvenient this will surely cause to many families.”

The one-day general worldwide strike is sponsored in the United States by the Women’s March on Washington, whose partners include the nation’s top teachers’ unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

In its statement, however, the Maryland district said it took no position on the protest, which calls for women to skip work, avoid shopping and wear red.

“Based on our policies, PGCPS and the Prince George’s County Board of Education have no political stance on ‘A Day Without a Woman,’” said the statement. “Schools will open Thursday, March 9 on a normal schedule.”

At least two other large school districts, the Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, have also cancelled classes as a result of anticipated staff absences.

“The goal is to highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the US and global economies while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face,” said the Women’s March on Washington statement.

The event has been criticized for its left-wing bias, including strong support for labor unions and abortion, and implicit anti-Israel tone.

One of the international organizers is Rasmea Rasmea Yousef Odeh, a Palestinian activist who was convicted in a deadly 1969 Jerusalem terrorist bombing. She was released 10 years later as part of a prisoner exchange.

Staci Maiers, NEA spokeswoman, said the teachers’ union had taken no position on A Day Without a Woman.

“We are not tracking which of our members may be participating, as it is a completely grassroots effort. Instead, we are encouraging teaching lessons geared to Women’s History Month,” she said in an email.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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