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The Hottest Political Issue In Town.

Last year, for the first time that I knew of, our local city school delayed start due to cold weather. Not snow. Not ice. Just REALLY cold weather. We had – like a 4 day stretch of sub-freezing temps. Not ONCE did it get above freezing. And our houses/pipes/buses are not built/designed to handle that type of cold for that stretch of time. (I have two heat pumps in my house and neither could keep the temps above 51.) But man – when they announced a delayed start during that stretch of cold weather? It was like the Mayor of Huntsville started performing abortions AND officiating gay marriages from his office.

People had opinions, is what I’m saying.

I had forgotten all about that, until Monday when the schools announced a delayed start again for today. And all of the opinions came out again.

The majority of the opinions are: This is dumb. 2 hours warms up 2 degrees. WHAT IS THE POINT?

And I get it. I do. But there are a LOT of points. Our buses suck in the cold and 2 extra hours warming up in the sun equates to more than a 2 degree shift in air temperature. Also? My city still opens at the regular time for parents who do drop-offs on the way to work. Also? Tons of kids walk to school and ride buses and while a 2 degree shift in air temperature SEEMS like not enough to make a difference, it’s something.

Basically – the point is that there are a LOT of factors involved in those decisions and they try to make them the best they can but the one thing everyone ALWAYS forgets is this:

SOMEONE IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE UNHAPPY.

I don’t envy the position of the people who make those decisions. And around here? They err on the side of caution 99 times out of 100. One year they closed school early for impending tornadoes but they didn’t close early enough and the tornado warning became active WHILE they were supposed to be dismissing kids and it was CHAOS across the city. So now? They close HOURS ahead of time and sometimes just shut down for an entire day of the storm system rolling in looks bad enough. When I lived a little further west (but still in North Alabama) their schools didn’t close because it was just ice, not snow, and one of our local beauty queens got paralyzed in a car accident. Without the expertise of Personal Injury Attorneys she may have been left without any compensation. I can’t imagine how much courage and bravery it must take to overcome such a traumatic experience like that. Hopefully, they had some great support from car insurance providers similar to Oxford Auto Insurance to help these beauty queens through their car accident trauma. Over the years BAD stuff has happened because they weren’t cautious enough…so can anyone blame them for being UBER-careful? Some people even argued that they should have gone to a law firm similar to Valiente Mott who could have helped them with their case so they were able to help the help they need. While others decided they were going to blame them.

Yes. Everyone can blame them. And they do. All day on Facebook.

And if anyone pops in to defend the schools for their decision, they get attacked for “being ridiculous” and once I saw someone point out that the poor around here aren’t going to spend hard-earned money on winter coats if they only need them 3 days a year and someone said, “THERE ARE $5 COATS AT GOODWILL. THEY CAN GET THEM THERE.” And then those people attacked back screaming about privilege (“$5 is still a lot of money to some people!”) and last year I saw it get SUPER ugly, SUPER fast, and that was between FRIENDS. All over a 2-hour delayed start at school.

What I’m saying is that…around here? School scheduling is the topic quickest to bring out the pitchforks. I post stuff about being pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, and about being a non-believer ALL the time. And does anyone try to attack me for any of thise? Nope. But once I defended the school system for a delayed start in the cold and I had THREE people yell at me on Facebook.

I’m just glad that this is, like a 36-hour stretch this time. Tomorrow we’re getting above freezing and the pitchforks get put back up until the next delayed start.

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11 thoughts on “The Hottest Political Issue In Town.”

  1. It’s 0* here today (Connecticut). Lots of delayed openings around us, but not in our town (I think because the wind they were expecting did not materialize – it was predicted that the wind chill would make it feel like -20*).

    I do believe our kids should be kept safe (and diesel buses need to be able to start), but I think schools are extra cautious because everyone and his brother will sue if something happens. While there are those who don’t have the warmest outdoor protection, there are also those (think high school students) who think it’s uncool to dress appropriately for the weather.

    Sending out good thoughts to my teacher/para friends who will have to endure indoor recess today!

  2. We are one of the few school districts NOT closed today. Negative temps, negative wind chills (-25) and snow expected this afternoon. I understand both sides (kids needing somewhere warm to go vs. kids freezing outside waiting for the school bus) and see the arguments here as well. I’m just glad I am able to drive my kids and they can rush into the building.

  3. We are closed today. It was -3 in my car, with a wind chill bringing it closer to the -20 mark.
    I understand it, but I never missed school due to cold temps when I was a kid (in the same area).

    Some people just get all heated up over the oddest of things. I’m usually like you, sitting back and wondering why this particular hill is the one they want to plant their flag of displeasure.

    (of course my one kid that does K12 doesn’t ever have a delay or missed school, but he also never has to leave the house if he doesn’t want to)

  4. Who knew that a topic as seemingly benign as this would generate so much animosity?!

  5. If it helps, they are having delays/closings in the Boston area today due to extremely cold weather also. It’s not just a Southern issue this time. 🙂

  6. I guess it’s different here to there but my school would rarely close for bad weather unless the heating was broken or the staff couldn’t get in but as 99% of the students came by car or by foot they’d often still open and just shift the staff round to cover the lessons. My foster son’s school is about 3 miles down the road their catchment area covers more villages so more kids come in by bus (it’s the area catholic upper school) so they’ve closed more times in the three years he’s lived with us than I think my school closed in the whole time I was there (5 years).

    I can understand if they are having trouble heating the buildings or something like that – especially if your area doesn’t normally get snow (or cold temperatures like you’re having at the moment). There’s always going to be someone who’s not happy.

  7. We also had the other extreme where we had to sit exams in a heat wave – it was insane and far too hot but they couldn’t do anything about it and because they are national exams we have to sit the same time as everyone else (unless you’re really poorly then they sort you sitting them at home or something like that)

  8. We are in a negative air temp/-20 and lower wind chill area. No school today. Like you, I don’t envy the ones making the call. We had some schools close yesterday which was overly cautious in my mind but I get it. The real reason for the delay is that it counts as a full day and doesn’t have to be made up. So, if a delay makes it safer, go for it.

  9. We have the same discussions here in Indianapolis. Our school system, and most of the ones in our county, had two-hour delays the last two mornings, while quite a few schools in the surrounding areas called off school completely. Our newspaper actually did an article yesterday about why they call for a delay for cold when the temps don’t actually change much, if at all, in those two hours. It was interesting. It’s for the buses, like mentioned. They use those extra hours to baby them into starting & making sure they’re good to go. It’s to get the kids into daylight so the driver can see them in case anyone were to fall, so they wouldn’t be left out there in those temperatures. And it’s to get past rush hour – the bus can get through the route faster with fewer cars on the road so the kids don’t have to be outside as long.

    Like you, I have no problems with the delays, but it does seem to be a new thing. Not that I’d really remember if we had them back in the day or not – my memory’s crap!

  10. I’m from the south too and our temps have been cold too. Far as I know, our schools started at normal time. Heard of starting late for snow, ice, etc but not for low temps. Don’t think they get out early for tornadoes either, but might be wrong on that since I don’t have kids to know for a fact.

  11. I live in rural NM near a ski resort. Our school system let out early yesterday due to bad weather coming in. Our buses have to travel long distances to deliver kids to ranches and other rural areas. They wanted to make sure the kids and buses weren’t stuck out in the bad weather. We have people who gripe about delays, closings, and early release all the time but it is always well thought out and for the safety of the kids.

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