Oh hail no! Late school cancellation calls from Cobb County endanger everyone


Ms. Kovel

YAY! We have cancelled school finally after conditions became too treacherous, but why the delay for the delay?

Fatima Elfakahany, Reporter, Photographer

As all of us now know, Cobb County delayed schools by two hours today at 6:58 AM, then finally cancelled at 9:23 AM based on the text messages sent to students, teachers, and parents.

That in itself does not represent significant news; I mean, sure, students and parents and teachers are expressing gratitude for the announcements, and perhaps we should feel grateful.

Except we need to discuss this call that was made and the time it was called, as these details are important. Because not only was it snowing/sleeting today (unlike last week), Cobb decided to wait until 6:40 to announce the delay on local news networks, while their website did not announce the delay until nearly twenty minutes later. Unlike last week’s announcement of cancellation, which prompted celebration from students, this announcement produced a wave of fury and scorn from students on social media.

I am not saying this because I am a student and adults apparently think that our life goal remains getting out of school by any means possible. I am saying this because not only was this delay completely inconvenient for the vast majority, the roads are actually dangerous for people who commute to school (i.e. nearly everyone). I do not want to miss class; I have a test on Thursday no matter what happens. I do desire, however, the guarantee of arriving to school safely and in one piece.

Usually Cobb would have released an announcement at 5:30 AM, which provides enough time for people to know about it and not go to school. According to the CCSD site policy in determining safety and safe conditions, the call is made at 5:30 AM. You can see this statement for yourself here. Apparently that would prove too convenient, and I was literally on my way to school when the announcement came. There were cafeteria workers, custodial staff members, teachers and students already at school because people live farther away than they work and attend school. What happens to them? Now they can choose to travel back, putting them in further harm, or they can stay at school until conditions become safer.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.05.08 PMCourtesy of CCSD webpage

Not only were students affected, teachers were as well. Teachers live in dangerous areas too, and many arrive at school early in case students need help with schoolwork, extra tutoring, etc. This announcement surprised them just as much as it surprised us. It likely angered them like it angered us.

True, the weather predicted an end in snow at around ten or eleven, giving way to rain. Rain, surely, does not constitute a good reason to cancel school. In the spring or even fall, this might hold true, but in this temperature rain has the same danger potential as sleet and ice. Georgians are not used to this kind of weather; few know how to drive in it, and yet few have an alternate choice.

I get that they wanted to avoid canceling another wasted day, but wasn’t the entire idea behind canceling school last week “better safe than sorry”? Clearly that does not apply now, although I cannot fathom why. Buses literally tipped over with children inside them. Only then did Cobb decide to delay school, not cancel. Cobb County needs to worry more about the safety of its students rather than its image. Those who govern should feel sorry for what occurred today, because they complicated and endangered a lot of lives completely unnecessarily.

It appears, however, as if Cobb listened to the complaints finally. As I was on my way to catch the bus yet again, word came in that school was indeed cancelled. Except that many of the fine folks that work for the county and the students who attend school were already well on their way there. Elementary school students on buses or freezing on ice-ladened sidewalks waiting for buses, teachers braving their way into schools, parents scrambling for right choices to make, and someone out there somewhere waiting until it was far too late to make a meaningful and educated call.

Many took to social media to declare their outrage. See our Storify below: