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COLUMN: A change in mindset for schools

Published 7:31pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This year has already been an amazing start to the second semester for Alabama school districts.

For the first time that I can remember, school systems have delayed or even closed because of the temperature. That’s not for snow or the threat of snow. It’s just because the temperature dropped below 10 degrees in the early morning.

That just amazes me. I’m sure my family members who live in Ohio are laughing at us.

Of course, we’re not prepared for that kind of cold like they are, but still it does seem a little extreme compared to what I am used to.

That’s not to say we never took inclement weather days. In Jefferson County, we were out three days for a blizzard of 1993. We were out of school following the 1998 tornado outbreak, in which Oak Grove High School was destroyed. We also were out two days thanks to damage from Hurricane Opal in 1995.

We also had a smattering of other days where we got out of school for snow, but it never happened, because of the fallout from the 1993 snowstorm.

While I might not agree with every decision, I think it shows that school administrators are taking the safety of students and teachers much more seriously than before. School systems could be held liable for injuries that result from the transport or anything that occurs on school grounds, something that everyone now thinks about following the Enterprise tornado of 2007.

I’m glad to see the change. I know kids like to have the days off, but remember this: you always have to make that missed school day up somewhere along the way. If you don’t go that day, you’ll just be stuck in the middle of class during a beautiful day that would have been a day off later in the year.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.

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