There were 37 responses to this week’s Tele-Talk question: “What method would you propose for deciding whether to cancel school because of weather?” A selection of the responses is printed here. More responses can be found online.
I live in Conway. I know Kevin Richard would never put any children in harm’s way. Also, I would like to say that if you want to take your child out of school, do it. People take their children out of school for vacations and other sorts of things, why not if they don’t want them on the roads — simple.
The school personnel have a tough job and a decision to make at 4:30 a.m. They are criticized no matter which way they go. All parents should remember if they think it is unsafe for their children to travel they can always keep them at home for the day. Patricia Swett, East Conway.
Many years ago, it was a storm just like on Thursday. The schools were not closed, and when my daughter got off the bus, she slipped and half of her went under the bus. Thank God I was there to get her or she could have been run over by the bus. She ended up in the cast on one leg. When in doubt, cancel. Better to have a make up day than a child hurt or killed. Roberta Webster.
After reading the article in the paper about all of the factors that Kevin Richard considers and all the effort he puts into researching the weather coordinating his efforts with the other superintendents and with an eye on safety. I think he made the right call and is doing a great job. Chris Perley, North Conway.
What has happened here is you have a bunch of people that move into this area. This is New England. If you can’t drive 2 to 3 inches of snow, stay home. They’ve got to have bare pavement. It’s one thing when we deal with ice or sleet, that’s a whole different ball game. But for snow, if you can’t deal with it stay home and keep your kids home. Don’t make everybody else in the area suffer because you can’t drive.
When the National Weather Service puts out a “watch” or “advisory” or “warning” for an area, there is an element of risk that increases in each category. If any superintendent takes a ride around our district in the morning and is confident that the roads will be as safe five or six hours later, with any of the above forecasts, then that person needs to learn more about weather forecasting. To say that it will be OK because the snow line is at Ossipee is nonsense. The base line with our children is that if there is a risk, don’t take it. They are our children. We entrust them to you. Everyone is allowed a bad call. Kevin Richard is a good guy. I think he made the wrong call last Thursday. We got away with it. I have the confidence in Kevin that he will be more cautious in the future. Bill.
Look, there is nothing wrong with the current method. It’s the exact same thing that every school superintendent does. They all use a combination of calling various town workers and checking several weather reports to help make the decision. This is New England, folks, and sometimes the weather does unpredictable things. I’ve heard people complain when school does get canceled, but it only snows a few inches. “I had to take a day off from work because they canceled for no reason!” It’s really a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. This is Kurt in Intervale.
I think they do a good job. Thursday’s storm started early and stronger than the National Weather Service was predicting at 5 a.m., when they needed to make the call. When I drove from Tamworth to Conway at 8 a.m., the roads were fine, but visibly was poor. Of course, by then it was too late to change the call whether they should have had school or not.
I drove my daughter to and from school in Conway, and the roads were the exact same in the morning as they were in the afternoon. They were not great but it was driveable. I feel confident in their choice to have school. I grew up here, and I never recall hearing about bus accidents because they made the wrong call to have school.
They did a great job making the call. If you think for one second they don’t put the children’s safety first, you’re delusional.
Historically, this district has done an almost perfect job. My stepdaughters are in their 40s and children mid-20s. This is always a tough call. I give them a 10! Rarely do they miss!
I support Mr. Richard and the decisions he has made in regard to school cancellations. We live in New Hampshire where, folks, it does snow! Don’t be such Monday-morning quarterbacks.
I think they do a good job. No one can forecast these storms. We live in New Hampshire. We are used to driving in this. If you do not agree, keep your kid home.
Oh, you mean the storm where the police chiefs were saying visibility was no good, if you don’t need to travel, don’t.
I agree that they do a good job most of the time, and nobody is perfect. Although on Thursday they blew it. It was easy enough to see from the forecast that the storm was going to transpire during regular business hours. Why not keep the kids, buses, mom’s and dad’s off the road and let the road crews do their jobs?
Because our district is so large, with stops in Jackson in the mountains and Tamworth in the valleys, clearly, based on Thursday’s example, the road agents Richards talked to hadn’t driven outside North Conway. Thursday should have been at minimum an early-release day instead of the half-assed thing they did.
It’s not like all kids are in Conway. People have mountains and back roads to drive; no one can possibly be able to drive everyone’s route and make sure it’s safe. You’re risking people’s lives, not just with road conditions but other drivers out there. Saving an extra day at the end of the year is not worth risking lives.
They do the best they can, and certainly don’t want students on the roads in dangerous conditions. What other method could they use? Flipping a coin?
Generally, the current process works well. Though, this past Thursday, we could have benefited from a little more consideration. Because it wasn’t snowing at all at 7 a.m. the “talking to road agents” could not have offered any actual information. However, based on the weather forecast, and the 700 school cancellations on WMUR, I would hope that in the future, they err on the side of safety and go with the majority. The weather reports called for 3-4 inches an hour of snowfall, and between 7 and 9 a.m., I measured 5 inches at my house. I was driving my school bus route, I called the SAU and strongly suggested they do an early release. The reasoning I was met with just didn’t make sense. When I asked who else I could speak to about this I was directed back to my company’s office. I was left wondering who’s in charge?
No, this method does not work. If, in fact, they consulted weather forecasts, they apparently missed the National Weather Service warning and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department warning on Facebook.
The problem I had with last week was the fact that the kids were released early on Tuesday, with no phone call or email from the school. Thursday, they called and sent an email saying that kids “being picked up by parents” would be released at the usual time 2:30 p.m., but released them at 2 p.m. anyway. So, both days, my son was forced to wait 30 minutes, whether the school notified me or not.
We live in New England, and people choose to live in the mountains, on back roads, etc. The roads were fine during Thursday’s storm. Yes. a little slick, but if people drive slowly and pay attention, you can get to were you’re supposed to. I travel a lot through the Crawford Notch. I give cudos to these bus drivers — especially Madison.
I think for the most part they call it right. But this last week I believe they did not! I think they should have called a two-hour delay, then called it from there. We all knew the storm was coming and to be prepared!
That storm was nasty! SAU 9 should have had at least a two-hour delay to give the workers time to clean up the roads. My daughter was sick, but we still had to go out to have her checked. The roads where practically unplowed in North Conway. It is our job as parents to keep our children safe. Regardless of what the SAU says, I personally would have kept my child home.
And the problem is, even if parents have the right to make the decision to keep their kids home, what about staff? Teachers/support staff don’t have the right to stay off the roads and not go out if there is school. About 10 years ago, a teacher in Laconia died due to an accident while trying to get to school when it should have been called off.
Sorry, but had lives been lost, the question would no doubt be should the school have closed? The school would be sorry. You, as a parent can also say no, I don’t think today is safe for my child to be at school. I’m sorry, but if God wanted us to be robots, then we would all be the same. I just hope the school realizes how many lives they put at risk for the “wrong” call.
Much better than what they do in New York. I think they toss a coin. It has two heads — both mean, “it costs too much to close schools.”
That accident that did happen with the school bus my daughter very well could have been on. Sorry I blame the school system and they are too money hungry to care enough about “one kid.” My daughter was that “one kid.” She isn’t anymore. That was the last straw with public school for me.
The school district has always done what is best for the children. They realize that in northern New England, you get snow all winter If you live here, get used to living and driving in the snow. If you can’t handle it and are worried about your children, family and friends being on the roads, move south.
Thursday’s storm had white-out conditions during it. It was not just any storm. It was dangerous out there, and the average bus is not four-wheel drive with traction control. There is hardy and then there is stupid. Having a full day of school on Thursday was stupid. The bus runs in Tamworth and Jackson are not easy routes when its snowing. I don’t ever want to hear of kids getting hurt in a bus accident in our district because Kevin Richard was too stupid to call school.
An extra day or two is worth just one life!
I think Nelson did a better job then Richards does. He used to cancel school if he even dreamt of a snowflake.
Yup, and I was very appreciative of the calls made by Nelson! He always erred with caution! Better safe than sorry!