Bartlesville Parents Not Happy With District's Late School Cancellation

Thursday, February 21st 2013, 6:04 pm
By: News On 6

Some parents in Bartlesville are irritated the district waited to cancel classes until their kids were already at school.

The district said it has a good reason for waiting until nearly 8 a.m. make the call.

Bartlesville has staggered start times for each of its 10 schools.

Since only two schools were close to starting, the district felt it was best to go ahead and cancel classes.

Madison Middle School and Bartlesville Mid-High start at 7:50 a.m.

The district made the call to cancel classes just ten minutes before the first bell was set to ring.

"I got a panicked voicemail from my sixth grader saying ‘can you come get me, and my friend won't have a ride home either cause her mom is already at work,'" parent Noelle Shaw said.

Shaw said she's not upset that school was called off, but she is irritated the district didn't make the decision sooner.

"I think parents getting out in this weather and children getting out in this weather was the issue," Shaw said. "You're telling us it's safe enough for us to come to school for 20 minutes and then 'oh wait, I'm sorry you can't come to school,'" she said.

Kymberly Hedges said the ice-covered trees and slushy roads were enough to keep her kids home for the day.

"I just don't see the point in waiting it out like they did when it was obviously bad at 6:30,'" Hedges said.

School leaders said they started monitoring the roads around 4:30 a.m. and everything looked fine until 7 a.m.

They typically don't call off school once classes have started, but since the majority of their students weren't at school yet, they felt it was best not to put more kids at risk.

"We saw about 75 percent of our students, we'd be able to keep them for the most part off the roads, keep them home," BPS Community Relations Coordinator Chris Tanea said.

Shaw said she only wishes officials would organize better how to make the weather call.

"We've got wonderful leaders, it's just in this situation we live in Oklahoma, we have crazy weather all the time," Shaw said. "We should have a better weather plan, too."

BPS acknowledged it made the decision late, but Tanea said the district stands by it.

"We apologize that the situation happened the way it did, and we had to make the decision so late, but we were just trying to focus on our students and staff's safety," Tanea said. "At the time, that was the best decision that we could make."

School leaders say they will review their weather policies to try to prevent something like from happening again.