(UPDATE) City Schools of Decatur defends decision to close schools due to weather

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 6, 2014

Icon_SchoolsThe metro area woke up to freezing temperatures on Monday, Jan. 6, but some parents of students attending City Schools of Decatur were steamed over the decision to cancel class due to weather.

Parents in the school system took to the CSD Facebook page Monday to vent their frustration. Late Monday afternoon, CSD announced schools would be closed on Jan. 7 as well.

“I’m incredibly frustrated by this school closing. It’s cold. But it’s dry and it’s not THAT cold,” one parent said Monday.  “Negative 30 degrees? Sure, close school. But today… it’s just kinda cold. That’s it. The kids will be inside the school, warm. It’s not a safety issue. And because of this I can’t go to work. Please do not close schools again tomorrow.”

Atlanta Public Schools, DeKalb County Schools and Fulton County Schools were already closed Monday for a teacher workday and will be closed on Tuesday, too. CSD was supposed to reopen on Monday.

CSD spokeswoman Courtney Burnett said she understands the frustration parents feel.

“We totally understand,” Burnett said. “I’m here at home with three kids and a dog myself. I get the frustration with that, but the thing is about it we have to make sure that we’re making the best decisions for the safety of the students and staff.”

Burnett said many of CSD’s employees commute from outside the school district, potentially putting them in harm’s way as they drove in to work. The freezing temperatures are expected to continue tomorrow, with a projected high of 25 degrees.

Here is the full statement from CSD explaining the decision to close Jan. 7.

Based on predicted frigid temperatures, and for the safety of our students and employees, City Schools of Decatur will be closed Tuesday, January 7. All scheduled events, including extra-curricular activities and events will be rescheduled. Our 12-month employees should report at 10:00 a.m.

Our staff has monitoring national and state weather services regarding the predicted freezing temperatures for Tuesday. District leadership has also been in communication with other metro school systems regarding their plans. The forecast for tomorrow morning is 7 degrees with a predicted wind chill factor of -13 degrees. According to the National Weather Service, the gusty winds and bitterly cold temperatures will combine to produce dangerously cold wind chills overnight creating a potentially dangerous situation for students and staff. After careful consideration, CSD will close on Tuesday, January 7, to ensure the safety of our students who walk to school, the students transported by bus, and our employees.

City Schools Decatur was closed on Monday, January 6 due to the predicted icy conditions in the Metro-Atlanta area. We are simply not equipped to accommodate black ice on roads and extremely frigid temperatures as schools in the northern United States may be. We closed to ensure the safety of our students as well as our staff, many of whom travel a significant distance to work in our schools. We cannot predict the effect of the extreme cold on the heating of our schools. Additionally, we have many students who do not own appropriate clothing for below-zero conditions. Having them walk to school, wait at the bus stop or be in schools that might not have heat is a chance that we are not willing to take.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may create for our families, but we must consider all factors and make the best decision possible with the information presented. The safety of students and staff is always our top priority. Thank you for your continued support of City Schools of Decatur. If you venture outside on Tuesday, please wear appropriate attire which includes a heavy coat, layers, a hat and gloves and be aware of the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Somewhat related update: As long as we’re discussing the topic of cold weather, Decatur Police Sgt. Jennifer Ross sent along the following reminder:

“Many of us prep for cold weather by stocking the kitchen, picking up a space heater, throwing more blankets on the bed and tending to our plants and animals. However, it is not easy for every member of our community to prepare for or endure extremely cold weather. Please take a few minutes to check on the seniors in your neighborhood. See if you can bring in their mail or wood or something else they may need. Sometimes simply being checked on is greatly appreciated when staying indoors gets to be lonely. Lastly, a neighbor may need emergency assistance and unable to call for themselves. If you are caring for an elder loved one or simply watching out for seniors in your neighborhood, here is a link to some specific tips to help. http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/cold-weather-protection-for-seniors-148625.htm.”

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Ben

    I mean, come on, just admit it. They got caught up in the weather paranoia frenzy and made a bad call. A whole lot of parents would feel better if they would just own it and promise to be less trigger happy next time.

  • Living in Decatur

    They mad a decision. School is closed. That is that. Go play with your kids. Bake cookies. Set up a tent in the living room and pretend to camp. Have some fun. Being grouchy isn’t going to change any thing. Make the most of what you have. I am sure there is great potential that some homeless people have actually died due to weather exposure and here we all are complaining about the fact the schools have closed.

    • A Grateful Grandmother

      BRAVO, Living in Decatur! AS A GRANDMOTHER OF TWO, I SUPPORT THE SCHOOL’S DECISION AND YOUR MOXIE. I PRAYED FOR THE CLOSING. IT IS MADDENING THAT ANYONE WOULD BE ANGRY WITH A SCHOOL DECISION THAT PROTECTS OUR CHILDREN.

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