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Abstract: In the city with the largest population in the world, and one of the world's worst air pollution problems, a group of parents of school-age children devise what they think is a simple expedient to protect students from the ill effects of the dirty air. To guard against the rampant respiratory problems affecting students--problems so severe that outdoor exercise is often discouraged--a national parents' group proposes to change the schedule of the school year so that the extended school vacation will fall not in July and August but December and January, the period of peak air pollution. Public officials at both the local and federal level must decide how to respond to the proposal--knowing that, for a wide variety of reasons, it is most likely impractical and will never be implemented. The case is designed to focus discussion on the relationship between public officials and citizen advocacy groups in democratic societies.