I’ve been out of work since Tuesday because of two inches of snow, ice and sleet. I had Thursday and Friday off anyway, so I have an impromptu winter vacation…again. This happened two weeks ago, when my county closed school for four days due to “bad” weather and road conditions. Down in the south, the THREAT of snow closes schools and government offices and clears the shelves clean of any bread, eggs and milk.
However, this is NEVER the case in New York City. And it’s not the case today, either. Despite various warning on the severity of the current snow storm, Mayor DeBlasio and Chancellor Fariña decided to keep NYC public schools open, announcing the decision Wednesday night, the night before the snowstorm. Deciding to keep schools open without even letting the night pass makes absolutely no sense. It’s inconsiderate and demonstrate a lack of thoroughness in decision-making. Obviously snow, ice and sleet are going to accumulate overnight and make morning commutes nearly impossible. So wouldn’t it be more logical to make this sort of decision in the morning when we’re able to assess the feasibility of regular travel? But what do we know? We’re just the parents, students and faculty that need to endure these terrible conditions.
Now DeBlasio and Fariña have received a lot of backlash for their recent decision-making. When asked about the reasoning of keeping schools open, Chancellor Fariña stated the following:
“If people can go to work, then kids can to school,” she told ABC. “Many of our kids don’t get a hot lunch and, in many cases breakfast, unless they go to school. So it’s still a parent’s decision whether they send their kids to school or not. My decision is where the kids are safest and the most taken care of, and the answer to that is in schools.”
That’s the thing, Chancellor Fariña, PEOPLE CAN’T GO TO WORK. Her response is a poor justification for putting students, parents, faculty and staff at risk even after a travel advisory has been issued. NYC schools are completely empty anyway because concerned parents made the reasonable choice of keeping their child home to ensure their SAFETY. With only six students in a classroom, what teacher is going to deliver a thorough, detailed lesson? It makes no sense to do so if it’s going to be repeated again the week after.
Whether or not it is the case that students go to school for hot meals and a safe venue, the pathway to safety is quite dangerous. Students trek through a foot of snow, ice and sleet, to even reach this place of “safety” . How about having the Mayor and Chancellor sit in school all day watching those students that need food and safety? Or how about the staff of both offices open a couple of schools in each borough to aid those students so we no longer place thousands of parents, students, staff and faculty at risk? Oh wait, I forgot. There’s no such thing as servant leadership anymore.
Things need to change, NYC.
For funny, insightful school updates on this snowy day, go on https://www.facebook.com/NYCDOEsnowproblems. Engage in the discussion!
-the angry public school teacher