Wake schools cloud parents' snow day

Staff WriterJanuary 10, 2004 

Well, the kids in Wake County got their 3 hours and 15 minutes in. No weather makeup day will be necessary.

That's the silver lining.

Now, the rest. A representative sampling of gripes from parents less than delighted with the inconvenience and potential dangers presented by a day of school that should have been a snow day:

"Didn't they get a clue when Chapel Hill and Orange County and Chatham closed their schools? They had to know it was coming."

"At least they could have used a two-hour delay to assess the situation."

"The kids aren't paying any attention today, except out the window. It's a joke. The only thing these kids are focused on is getting home to play in the snow."

"They're sending the kids home an hour early. That's right when conditions will be at their worst!"

And of course, there's nothing so comforting as listening to the radio while your children are on a school bus somewhere, and hearing a spokeswoman for the Highway Patrol urge people to "STAY AT HOME."

"I saw three wrecks while taking my kindergartner to school," said Kelly Paussa of Cary, whose son goes to Farmington Woods Elementary School. "A 15-minute drive took over an hour!"

"Usually school is canceled because they think it might snow," said Terry Smith, a Cary mother of three. "Not this time."

Kim Spicer of Knightdale said it would have been humorous if it hadn't been such a hassle.

"Last night, the forecast said just a few flakes. Uh, I think we beat that. This morning, they were saying a half an inch to an inch. And uh, I think we beat that too."

But the funny thing is, parents don't get mad at Greg Fishel or his ilk. They get mad at school administrators, who saw the storm rolling in and still plowed ahead. So to speak.

One parent wondered whether this weather call was yet another reason to miss former associate superintendent Walt Sherlin, who always erred on the side of caution.

The situation was particularly vexing to parents with kids on different schedules, from day care to high school.

Liza Weidle of Cary sent off her son, Scott, 14, a freshman at Green Hope High School, at 7 a.m., as the first flakes appeared. By the time her younger son, Nick, 11, was up, an inch was on the ground and Weidle was flipping among TV stations, looking for the expected news. She checked the Internet and called around. Nothing.

Finally, Weidle and her neighbors in Arlington Ridge in western Cary let the kids play outside. Which is where they were when the school bus pulled up.

Of course, it wasn't an hour later that Weidle learned the schools would be closing an hour early. She sighed and canceled her appointments.

So much for the benefits of keeping kids in class.

Still, for us parents, there's another silver lining here.

Next time there's a hint of snow in the forecast, clear the calendar and head straight to Blockbuster.

You know the kids will be staying home.

Ruth Sheehan can be reached at 829-4828 or rsheehan@newsobserver.com.

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