Two-Hour Delay Was Right Call for New Bedford [OPINION]
A school superintendent's job is never easy, particularly when there is snow in the forecast. The superintendent is the one charged with deciding whether to cancel classes or send the kiddies off into the abyss to meet their fate with Mother Nature. The buck stops on the superintendent's desk.
It's important to get the call right but either way, the superintendent must brace for backlash from parents because, as they say, you can't please all of the people all of the time. There will always be a percentage of folks who think you are a wise man (or woman) and the rest will think you are a moron.
The decision to call off school when the flakes start flying is a bit more difficult these days than when many of us were students. The fact that more kids are bussed than ever before means more young ones are in motor vehicles under potentially dangerous conditions. And then there are those children who walk to school who might be called upon to maneuver a snowbank or two. The issues of liability and litigation must figure prominently in the decision making these days.
Back in my day, we walked to school. Almost no one was bussed. We bundled up in the rain, snow, sleet, and hail and walked from Brook Street to Normandin. If we were lucky, somebody's mother or father might offer us a ride but mostly we walked. Kids were made of tougher stuff back then. Our parents told us it would build character — and it did.
And school was never called off the day before regardless of what the forecast suggested. We would lay in bed with snow piling up outside and wait for the sound of the air-raid siren at 6 a.m. to announce the canceling of school. Or we listened to WBSM hoping for an early announcement.
While most area cities and towns canceled school due to Tuesday's relatively minor snow event, New Bedford Superintendent Thomas Anderson simply delayed the start of classes by two hours to give folks a chance to dig out. It was the right decision.
Getting to school was a bit more challenging than normal for some but that's okay. Kids need to be challenged and they get little of that these days while being coddled and protected at every turn. Besides, you cannot educate kids if they are not in the classroom.
Tuesday's snowstorm was really no big deal. This is New England – it snows here and kids should be taught how to cope with the weather. They really are quite resourceful when given the opportunity. And it's good for them.
Kudos to Superintendent Anderson for keeping the schools open on Tuesday.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.