Some students in Michigan will be getting an extra-long holiday break this year, thanks to the supposed end of the world.
Five Michigan school districts in Lapeer County have shuttered their doors early this holiday season, partly out of concern over end-of-the-world hysteria sparked by the Mayan Long Count calendar.
The decision, which was made Wednesday night, cancelled all classes, extracurricular activities and athletic events for Thursday and Friday this week, two days ahead of schedule. Matt Wandrie, the superintendent for Lapeer Community Schools, cited recent rumors of violence following last week’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., as well as “overall distractions” and “rumors connected to the Mayan calendar predicted end of the world.”
In a letter to parents and students, Wandrie, explained each rumor had been independently investigated and dismissed. However, he stood by his decision:
There have been no credible threats made against any of our students. However, these rumors have been a serious distraction for students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Therefore, given the significant disruption to the teaching and learning process, I have decided, along with my fellow superintendents of Lapeer County, to cancel school for both Thursday, December 20th, and Friday, December 21st.
Last week, in Connecticut, 20-year-old Adam Lanza took the lives of over 26 adults and children at Sandy Hook Elementary school, sparking a national debate on safety and mental health awareness. Meanwhile, the Mayan Long Count calendar is expected to move to the next b’ak’tun, or a cycle of 144,000 days, on Dec. 21st, 2012. Despite the belief that “the end” of the Mayan calendar will bring about the apocalypse, it simply means that a new cycle of the calendar will begin.