AMERICAN FORK, Utah — Alpine School District in Utah County has shortened their winter break by three days, but students are calling the move unfair, saying they have come to depend on that time.
One of those students, Karly Parcell, a sophomore at Orem High School, started a petition. Within 48 hours, she accumulated more than 5,000 signatures from students, parents and teachers.
"We care about these things and we're willing to speak up about things like this," said Parcell. "It's good to have that time to mentally prepare for the rest of the year and to have that time with your families as well."
For the past several years, the school district gave students 10 school days off for winter break. This year, they will only receive seven.
"We do like to give as many days in the winter for a break as possible," said Alpine School District spokeswoman Kimberly Bird.
The Alpine School District said because Christmas Day and New Year's Day both fall on a Sunday, they had a choice to make. It was either a longer winter break or a longer summer break.
"Knowing that this is one that would pose a challenge, we put a survey out to all of our parent leadership at our schools - over 80 schools," said Bird.
But some of the students within Alpine School District said no one asked for their opinion.
"All these adults are making decisions for people that don't have any say," said Orem High School senior Ethan Morton.
Joe Morton, Ethan's father, agrees.
"They need a voice and I support that. I support their desire to have more of a voice in the different decisions that are being made," Joe Morton said.
The Parcell family said the shorter winter break has directly affected their vacation plans and they're not alone.
"My husband has the longest Christmas break that he's ever had as a professor, but this is strange that it's falling at a time when my children have the shortest and so it's really limited our options for what we can do," said parent Shelly Parcell.
The Alpine School District said they will look at more ways to incorporate students into the decision-making process in the future. However, they said, the petition will not cause any changes regarding the upcoming winter break.