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Parents caught off guard by last-minute school closures

Posted February 5, 2010

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— For the fourth time this week, Mindi Flowers' children were home from their Orange County school Friday.

They passed the time by playing board games inside.

Flowers said she was “very upset” by the school system’s last-minute decision to cancel school that morning after about 20 percent of the elementary students had already been picked up.

“The children who are picked up, sometimes their parents go off to work. Some of these parents work in Raleigh or other places like that and they might not be around,” she said.

Orange County Schools Superintendent Patrick Rhodes says between 6 and 7 a.m. road conditions deteriorated rapidly. He said his car was slipping and sliding across the road from sleet accumulation.

Orange County parents react to school closure Orange County parents react to school closure

Bus drivers also deemed the roads unsafe and contacted school administrators. Around 7 a.m. school was canceled for the day and students were bused home.

“Unfortunately a number of parents had left for work and it’s not the idea situation,” Rhodes said. “The weather came at the worst possible time for this type of decision, but we’re going to make the decisions based on the health and safety of our students.”

Flowers said the sudden cancelation of school created a “very worrisome situation.”

Wendy Brown and her three kids live just outside Hillsborough. With the road conditions by her home in bad shape, Brown said she thinks the school system made the right choice to close.

“It was a late call, but I think it was ultimately a good call,” she said.

School administrators said any children whose parents were not at home were taken back to school until their parents could pick them up.

They say they considered a two-hour delay Thursday night, but wanted to see what the roads looked like first.


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  • kittiboo Feb 5, 2010

    Danged if ya do, danged if ya don't.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 5, 2010

    The children are the responsibility of the Parents. Don't want the responsibility, then you should not have had children.

  • mdymes Feb 5, 2010

    Some people will complain about anything. I don't think that anything can be done to satisfy everyone. One person is
    "upset" because school was canceled, another because it was a late call and if school had gone on people would complain about that too. Grow up folks not everything can happen to your expectations... Mike

  • Nancy Feb 5, 2010

    "Put some training into these bus drivers. I hate to see what happens if we get snow every week. Are they going to cancell school for the whole winter? I don't think so."/stupidbrainchild

    It isn't just the bus drivers that need training on ice/snow, it's everyone they share the road with.

    This is the south, we don't have equipment to handle such events and lack of experience in drivers is to be expected, it's not a normal, routine driving condition down here.

  • stupidbrainchild Feb 5, 2010

    Oh please.. Education system here neads to get some galls. The world can't come to standstill evertime a snow flake or sleet pellett pops up. Put some training into these bus drivers. I hate to see what happens if we get snow every week. Are they going to cancell school for the whole winter? I don't think so.

  • eastwake98 Feb 5, 2010

    Would this mother have been bothered or inconvienced if the bus with her child on it crashed? Come on. Be real and find something worth while to complain about.

  • Pulling for the Tarheels Feb 5, 2010

    What happened to the automated phone system calling all the parents (home or cell #'s provided) letting them know school was being cancelled? Is that no longer in place? A friend of mine found out about the cancellation as she was on her way to take her children to school - one of her children's friends sent them a text message.

  • liskm Feb 5, 2010

    If you can't handle school cancellation issues for children, then don't have children. Otherwise get use to it, develop a game plan for coverage or heaven forbid, address the responsibility yourself.

  • Scubagirl Feb 5, 2010

    And if they had had school and a student had gotten hurt or worse, killed, these same parents would be hollering the loudest because they DID NOT change school hours. I agree w/ rev. you are not the only person!

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Feb 5, 2010

    What was the school system supposed to do? Like Rev said, the weather changed at the last minute too! Some people aren't happy unless they are complaining about something, I guess...