Not a snow day - Some complain


WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County Public Schools did not cancel classes Friday because the temperature was 40 degrees at 5 a.m. when Superintendent Elizabeth M. Morgan made the decision, said Mike Markoe, assistant to the superintendent.

That temperature is too warm to justify a cancellation, he said.

As the weather worsened later that morning, however, Markoe said school officials decided to let students go home two-and-a-half hours early.

At about 1:40 p.m., a school bus apparently slid into a station wagon on Harpers Ferry Road, Markoe said. No school bus passengers were taken to the hospital, but the two occupants of the station wagon went to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries, police said.

Washington County Council of PTAs Treasurer Karen Reilly, who lives in Knoxville and whose child attends a Boonsboro school, said she was glad to hear no one was seriously hurt in the school bus accident, but said conditions in the southern part of the county were getting bad before noon.


"I was surprised that they went ahead and opened (Friday) given the forecast. I understand that the weather forecast is never completely firm, but early on it looked like it was pretty clear that we were going to get some precipitation and that it was going to be messy out there," Reilly said.

"I think it would have been safer for all if they would have dismissed earlier than 1 (p.m.)," she said.

Not the worst

To Karen Cramer, who lives in Pleasant Valley and whose children attend Boonsboro-area schools, the decision Friday was not the School Board's "worst decision."

"There were some times earlier in the winter with the weather that I scratched my head and said, 'Why did they make this decision?,'" Cramer said. "They'll never be able to please everybody."

Cramer said that her children made it to school and back safely, but said she can understand why people living on unplowed back roads might feel differently.

"Out here in the valley we definitely have fewer roads plowed," she said.

In the eastern part of the county in Cascade, at least one mother, who did not want to be identified, kept her child home from school because roads around her house were treacherous.

"I live up on a mountain," she said. "On the mountain, the weather is doubly as worse as it is in the valley."

She said that Friday should have been a snow day.

"I will say that Washington County generally makes good decisions, but today, I think, they should have closed school," she said.

In Hancock, which also has mountain terrain, parent Tina Spears said, "I just thought with the amount of snow they were calling for, they haven't missed that many days, they should have stayed home today."

She said her son, who attends the town elementary school, got home about an hour after school was dismissed. Her son's bus driver, who lives on Spears' street, called her to say that she would be bringing her son home later so that she could drop off other students according to the condition of their roads.

"Personally, I was not happy" with the decision to hold school Friday, said Hancock parent Joyce Cubbage.

"Out here, the grounds were covered," Cubbage said.

In Hagerstown, Leslie LeBlanc, past president of the Washington County Council of PTAs, said she sympathizes with the School Board when it comes to making calls about the weather and whether it will affect the school day.

"I wouldn't want to be in their position - trying to make that decision," she said. "Some people feel they are endangering their children's safety and others are concerned about finding day care ... I don't think there's anything you can do about the weather."

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