District makes mistake by having school on icy day

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With thick ice covering the streets and students crashing down onto the slick pavement on their way to school, the weather conditions were the furthest thing away from safe on Nov. 14, 2014. With many mishaps occurring on this day, it is definitely clear that the Gresham-Barlow School District made the wrong call to keep school in session.

On Nov. 13, school was cancelled due to ice and predictions of six inches of snow. The following day, there was still ice that had not melted and still made it unsafe to attend school.

When weather warnings are issued, it takes school district superintendent Jim Schlachter a morning process to evaluate whether or not the district will have school. The process includes analyzing the weather first at 3:45 a.m. Shortly after, at 5:00 a.m., Schlachter must decide whether school will be cancelled or have a two hour delay. Although, if there is a two hour delay and the weather does not seem to be clearing up like predicted, by 7:30 a.m., school could still be cancelled.

Schlachter was attending a conference that morning where he was unable to cancel school at 7:30 a.m. after the two hour delay. This led him to leave the decision up to the bus company. According to Schlachter, the bus company predicted that the ice would melt and that the roads would be safe enough to take students to school.

He said school busses were have trouble on the ice that morning, as a number of them did not have chains on their tires and is working with the bus company to figure out why that was the case.

When students arrived at school on this day, they had to stay inside once they entered the building so that they would remain safe. Along with this, all outside classes, like those in the 400 wing, were thrown together into the cafeteria, creating a chaotic learning environment.

According to assistant principal Aki Mori, it was a team decision from the administration to have all outside classes inside the cafeteria.

By the end of the day, classrooms seemed almost empty because of how many people left school, and lessons in classes seemed subpar.

For sophomore Sydney Wallace, the school day was pointless, as only about ten to 15 people showed up to her larger classes.

Even with the staff trying to keep students indoors and safe, various injuries big and small occured.

Nurse Sandy Dornfeld said she had to see about 15 students on this day. In those cases, some of the students were sent to the emergency room to make sure none of their bones had been broken. Dornfeld also saw a staff member on the ice with a head injury where 911 had to be called.

According to Schlachter, because of the missed school day and the two hour delay, students can expect to be making up those days to meet state required hours of school.

Despite the circumstances, the Gresham-Barlow School District made the wrong call to open school on Nov. 14 because of the injuries that occurred and the lack of productivity in the school day.


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District makes mistake by having school on icy day