OPED: Closing Schools the Right Decision
January 13, 2017
Southern Torch (3845 articles)

OPED: Closing Schools the Right Decision

PHOTO: A Nashville school bus slid off the road on Friday after officials canceled schools midday. (Photo by WKRN – Nashville) 

By Marla Jones, Sports Editor


Less than one week into his new job, Dekalb County Superintendent, Dr. Jason Barnett had to make the decision whether Dekalb County School System should be closed on Friday, January 6, 2017.

At his swearing in ceremony on January 1, 2017, he jokingly said the number one thing that worried him about his new job, were school closings. After only four days on the job, winter storms were predicted and the decision had to be made about his first school closure.

After Governor Robert Bentley declared the State of Emergency, I personally feel that Dr. Barnett made the right decision. We voted him into office, to protect our students and teachers. Dekalb County has many treacherous roads and I for one, would not want inexperienced drivers on the road.

It is almost impossible to predict when and where weather events will occur. On Friday, social media was abuzz with debates regarding the school closure. No, we did not get the weather that was predicted, but what if we did and schools were open?

Parents would have to take off work early or make arrangements for their children to be picked up. Decisions would have to be made for childcare on short notice. With the closure being announced on Thursday night, arrangements were able to be made for the children.

On Friday, in metro Nashville, Tennessee, a school bus slid off the highway with nine students onboard. The bus driver was attempting to get students safely back home with the schools were dismissed early due to winter storms.

Firefighters were able to secure the bus with chains to prevent the bus from tipping over.  This situation could have been much worse, if not for the quick response from firefighters.  The bus driver had years of experience in driving and no injuries were reported. Would you or your teenager know how to drive in treacherous road conditions?

“The decision to close schools on Friday was based on weather information that were received from the DeKalb EMA as well as the state EMA. There was expectations of more snow that we received, but weather models change continuously and we make decisions based on the best information we have with student, faculty and community safety in mind,” said Dr. Jason Barnett.

“I do want to thank Anthony Clifton and the staff at the DeKalb EMA for their guidance and support through this process. We have created a protocol for how we make weather-based decisions that includes the support of many agencies and keep student safety at the forefront of our decision-making,” added Dr. Barnett.
Talk to your young drivers about the hazards of driving in winter weather conditions.  Alabama weather can change in an instant.  


Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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