Smithfield: Opinion

Schools should always err on side of caution

We have our differences with the Johnston County schools; that’s the nature of the relationship between a newspaper and any institution it covers. But we’ll never second guess the decision to close schools in advance or in the aftermath of a winter storm or a hurrricane.

We sympathize with parents who stare at the dry streets in their neighborhood and wonder why their children are not in school. But we’ve also driven this large, mostly rural county and know that dry roads in Meadow are no guarantee of safe roads in Clayton or Corinth-Holders.

It’s logical to ask why schools in, say, southern Johnston can’t open even if schools in northern Johnston need to remain closed. The answer is that the logistics of closing some schools while opening others are nearly impossible to manage.

We can also forgive the schools for the occasional flub – canceling classes in advance of a storm that fizzles or rolling buses only to turn them around when they arrive on a suddenly slippery campus. Because when they err, the schools always err on the side of keeping students safe.

Of course, parents don’t get too annoyed – or vocal – until snow makeup days cut into spring break. But that’s really much ado about nothing because the schools here are in the habit of accommodating families for whom spring break is nonnegotiable. By the way, we’re from the school that says a week exploring the nation’s capital is at least equal to a week in the classroom, so go ahead and take that vacation.

The bottom line is this: When the forecast calls for snow or ice, the schools should close, and they should remain closed until every inch of every road is safe. Because even one injured child is unacceptable. Johnston school leaders know this, and we thank them for protecting our children.

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