Like the rest of my readers who live in the Midwest, we’ve been hammered by Arctic temperatures for the last 36 hours. Which has led to some controversy.
On Monday our school principal sent out an email stating that assuming the roads were in good shape and the school’s furnace, water, and electricity were functioning normally, he would plan on having school on Wednesday and Thursday. Which made sense: we’re a no-bus school and kids get dropped off within 50 feet of the front door. Even with a windchill of –38 yesterday, they only had to be outside for a few seconds. Brutally cold, yes. Dangerous, no.
Some parents were not pleased with this decision. Tuesday night there was a lot of chatter on Facebook about whether classes should be cancelled or not. Some of this was based on over 60 kids being sick and out of school that day. That’s over 15% of the school. Some parents thought rampant illness combined with super cold temps should equate with no school. Never mind that it was not just one illness that was reaching pandemic status in the school, but a nasty combo of flu, strep, stomach bugs, and regular old colds.
Again, the roads were expected to be fine and our kids don’t stand on the corner waiting for busses.
As you can imagine, there was a bit of back-and-forth in the comments. I stayed out; I really like one of the moms who was complaining and did not see any point in engaging on either side of the debate. And school policy has always been if school is in session but you feel like it is dangerous to get your kids to school, you are welcome to keep them at home. Make the decision yourself, don’t ask the principal to wipe out an entire day of school for everyone because you’re not willing to make that choice.
Our girls got wind of what was going on, most notably M, who was getting messages from friends at other schools that had already cancelled classes. She started lobbying us to stay home. Her hand was strengthened, or so she thought, but the fact that S’s office was closing on Wednesday. We could all stay home and have a nice, warm day together! Or so M thought.
I reminded her there was no danger in driving on dry roads, I would kick her out of the car mere feet from the front door, and there was no point in staying home. She did not like this. She whined. She argued. She pouted. She went to bed hoping we would get a call at 6:00 AM cancelling classes for the day.
We did not.
She gave us the silent treatment in the morning. When I insisted she pack gloves and a hat, she stomped around, made a show of jamming them into her backpack rather than putting them on, and then sat in glum silence until it was time to leave.
After school she continued her act. She refused to talk to either of us. She used heavy footsteps to navigate around the house. She sighed often. When we asked her how her day went she muttered under her breath how it would have been better if she had stayed home so she could have spent seven hours working on her science fair project. She also claimed that our school was one of only three in the entire state that did not cancel classes. In short, she acted like a teenager.
For public schools, cancelling classes made total sense. That’s just too big of a risk for kids to get stuck outside if a bus breaks down, there’s an accident that delays them, etc.
But for schools that have no bus services, it was straight dumb and lazy to cancel classes. Seriously, people are getting soft.