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Kids were going to school in the cold in Ohio for a long time

Published: Sun, January 27, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Since when is cold weath- er an anomaly in northeast Ohio? Without so much as a skiff of snow and dry roads, it appears that the lack of extreme winter weather has area schools desperate to implement a “snow day.” Low temperatures on partly sunny days hardly merit a weather emergency. I’d understand if buses couldn’t start or pipes were bursting in schools, but that’s certainly not the case. And our children seem to be out and about handling the weather just fine — note the front page photo of Boardman students ice skating at the Ice Zone.

It’s not as if there’s no accommodation for the parent who is concerned about the weather. Per school policy (in Canfield), the parent has full discretion as to whether they keep their child home. “If on any day, you feel the weather is too extreme for your child to attend, you may keep your child home. Please send a note with your child and he/she shall be excused” (Alex Geordan, Superintendent, Canfield Schools, Nov. 12, 2012, letter posted on the school website). Many parents drive their children to school. Our children ride the bus and rarely spend more than 5 minutes outside waiting for their admirably prompt school bus. On an unusually cold day, I’m sure that parents can make good decisions for their child.

Let’s put this in a larger perspective — academics and child care. With an ever-shrinking academic calendar it’s extremely important that students get as much instructional time as possible during their 174 days in class. Unnecessary school closures are disruptive to a nine month school calendar already peppered with teacher instructional days, holidays and field trips.

Further, as a working parent, arrangements for child care on unexpected snow days are expensive and burdensome. In a working family, if a neighbor or other family member isn’t readily available to watch the kids, either one parent loses a day’s work or puts the child(ren) in child care which can cost upwards of $45 per day.

And what of the fact that teachers clamor for more time to grade papers and prepare lessons, however, the school parking lots on these paid work days are empty. When driving safety is not an issue, where is the paid staff? School athletes, coaches and their fans seemed to be able to make their way to the schools for evening basketball games just fine.

When schools approach the community requesting levy tax increases, I will keep this all in mind. Is the school putting my child’s academic success first? Is teacher and staff pay commensurate with the days worked and results achieved? Has the school been a prudent steward of the funds we the community provide?

Reserve weather emergencies for severe weather events. Let parents make responsible decisions as to whether to keep their child home if they feel their health or safety are in question. For these reasons and first and foremost for the future success of our school age children, I encourage all of our area educators to keep the schools open. Otherwise, what’s next —rain days?

Julie C. Van Devender, Canfield


1Dvlschild(6 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

This is the truth, I stood outside for an hour in Thunder snow in the blizzard of 1977, didn't hurt me, but we have raised such a crop of wussies, its unreal, this country is headed for the toilet and fast.

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2PAPPY(14 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

It seems schools are babysitters for your kids so you can work and live your high roller life style. #1 when its cold what if the bus breaks down on the road? I am a bus driver they don't warm up that quick in 0 temperatures. If your child is on my bus and he gets frost bitten because of unforseen circumstances you will be ready to "sue". I have a few wheelchair riders on my bus, some drool and most have a low imune system, 1 min in below wind chill for these kids could be a killer. All schools have the same situation as my bus, some have worst.

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3dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

hey pappy, when it is cold i start my car EARLY so it can warm up. i was upset also at the schools being closed for cold. we went so i dont see the problem. there are too many conference days and more vacation days now and what exactly is a waiver day? Liberty seems to have a few of these too. i understand that budget cuts have made it to where some kids have to walk now and that is a shame, but make it the parents responsability to get them there not close the school. if they can not get the kid there then they stay home but this is redicolous.

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4Snowday(7 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

If she can afford to live in Canfield, she can afford daycare. I guess we are all wussies today. When I was in school I walked to school five miles uphill both ways in 6 feet of snow and in temps 50 below zero. And I ate lead paint chips for lunch and didn't need an assault rifle or the NRA to defend my home. I just called the mob.

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5PAPPY(14 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Snowday, like some of you comments, Dawn we let our buses run 15 min, diesal don't warm up like cars, that piece of steel doesn't warm up until 3/4 way on our route on a zero day, sounds like sour grapes Dawn. I have 2 teachers in my family you don't want to walk in their shoes.

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6GoPens(397 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Blame the lawyers folks.

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7dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

i did not say anything about wanting to walk in their shoes or anyone else's did i? i said that due to cuts some schools make kids walk, BUT the school shouldn't have been CLOSED!!!!!! when we were young we went to school in cold and snow. we had gloves and scarves and boots. it should be up to the parent to keep them home or send them, not use snow days for crap them if we get a blizzard there are make up days in June because they wasted them. and what does being a teacher have to do with my previous comment about cold ?

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8dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

also it was not TOO COLD for the kids to go skating OUTSIDE in the cold was it? or too cold for those juveniles to rob the postal worker was it? that is my argument Pappy, it was just too cold to go to school. can i call off to say it is too cold out for me to come in? lol

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9Snowday(7 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

When we were small we had parents who made sure we had gloves,scarves, and boots. Many of today's parents do not provide such items anymore. Many students wake themselves up and get ready for school while parents are at work or refuse to get up.You should be blaming the parents for allowing kids to spend the day ice skating. My kids never left the house on those two snow days.The parents decided to sent them ice skating....not the school. I guess the schools are more resposible than parents these days.

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10dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

point was not that the parents are not responsible it was that the only people the cold was bothering was the grown ups. we did not go outside either but that does not mean i feel any different about the school being closed.

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11PAPPY(14 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

like I said sour grapes, if you would of been allowed to stay home and get payed it would of been ok. They were ice skating inside not like i used to go down to lake glacier. Robbing the mail man, until we arrest the parents when someone under 18 gets in trouble we will continue to have these problems. Parents are not parents now a days, they want to be their friend, like the old saying goes "who's your daddy" I dunno!!!!

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12Snowday(7 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, maybe one day in your lifetime they will do away with brick and mortar school buildings and students can stay home and do on-line schooling for grades K-12....then you will have one less thing to be upset about.

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13redeye1(5062 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Dawn After reading all your posts today . I think I see what the real problem is. You had to watch your kids on the cold days and couldn't do your regular thing . That's too bad If you didn't have an alternate plan in place that is your fault. Secondly you are probably one of those parents who still sends their kds to school when they are sick.

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14DwightK(1370 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Schools look for excuses to cancel classes so I'm not surprised about cold weather causing a lost day. Look at a school calendar and see if there is one month where there isn't a holiday or waiver day (whatever those are).

Also, look how many days off follow teacher / parent conferences. If they work a few hours over to meet with parents they have to have an entire day off to recover. Try seeing how that works in the private sector.

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15UsuallyBlunt(105 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

My folks forced me to walk to school on my hands, uphill both ways until the snow was ankle deep...the cold, never affected me that much...

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162009Erin(3 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

In the past parents taught their children to zip their coats, put on their gloves, lace up their boots, etc. Today, the parents expect the teachers to teach all this... if they even send them with a coat. I know that several of my students would have had to walk over a mile (most likely without a coat) to get to school on these cold days. Ms. Van Devender, the sporting events you are speaking of in which you see so few teachers, have you considered maybe they are at home with their own families or at their own children's sporting event? And as for the waiver days, well, we use those to attend seminars to learn how to help children overcome their ever increasing negative home life or attempt to plan interventions for the ever increasing number of students who do not come to school prepared or try to find funding to buy all of their school supplies which so many parents now neglect to send. School is a very different place now than it was in the past, parents are much less involved in their children's lives and teachers are forced to make up for it.

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17TB(1167 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Not to mention how a day where a parent chooses to keep a student home can lower a school's performance on a state report card.

Most teachers I know were also at home with their own children and worked on school work during their time off.

Ms. V, you do realize that much of the work of teaching is done outside the building? Also, if things were right in your day as you seem to imply in your letter, then why isn't your generation solving the problems? You bear the responsibility my dear.

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18DwightK(1370 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Waiver days are used for training seminars? That's odd. You would think these seminars could take place in the summer or on Saturdays when the children are out of school rather than interrupting the educational process during the school year.

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19BlueSteel(41 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

It's an Ohio thing. Last week when every Ohio school in the tri-county area closed because of the cold, not a single PA school closed. They may have ran on 2 hour delays, but at least they were still open.

Last week, when Erie, PA got two feet of snow, none of the schools were closed, either. Ohio would have called off all week!

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20AtownParent(564 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

@BlueSteel, if PA schools had "snow" days allowed in their schools, I am sure they would have had off those days too. Any day they miss for weather they have to make up, unlike Ohio. That is why they only have 2 hour delay days.

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21TB(1167 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Dwight, they do those as well. Training occurs throughout the calendar year.

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22dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

@2009erin, just a quick comment on the remark you made about the supplies that parents fail to send now days.. i want to know who makes these lists? i should not have to spend $40 on "supplies" including tissues and wipes and baggies!!!!! and they have the nerve to name the brands they want. i buy for mine, not yours and i dont need 15 glue sticks for a 7 yr old. and highlighters and dry erase markers, i have yet to see a paper brought home that has a highlight. the schools are rediculous anymore.

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23TB(1167 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

What supplies should you be responsible for providing?

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24DwightK(1370 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

TB, I know several teachers and apart from their own continuing education, such as obtaining a masters degree, I have not seen them putting training hours on Saturdays or summer break. I've seen them go in a week before school starts to prep their rooms but never in June or July.

I also object to the days off they receive following parent teacher conferences. Is it really a requirement to take a whole day off because they worked a few hours overtime?

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25PAPPY(14 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Dwight k, you are another person with sour grapes, ask any teacher if they will ever pay off their student loan in their life time? Probably not, you put in a 14 hour day and only get paid for 8. Thats where our unions in every field fight for the worker, your probably salary and when they tell you to jump you say how high. If you have benefits, paid holidays thank a union man.

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262009Erin(3 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

@Dawn, I made my own supply list and think I am thoughtful about it, being a parent myself. But it depends on the school district as to who makes it. My students use everything on the list. I keep each student's supplies separate and replenish theirs with THEIR OWN as needed. When a student runs out, I send a note home to that parent for their own child. But, if the parent chooses not to send in crayons, pencils, glue, etc. I am forced to purchase that. And it is usually more than just one parent. I know that have already spent $400 on basic school supplies alone for my class of 20. Not to mention the other out of pocket expenses.

I am positive that a classroom could go through 20 boxes of tissues or wipes in a year with all of the germs and runny noses, so asking for each student to bring a box doesn't seem out of the question to me.

If you feel that the list is out of the ordinary, you should speak to that teacher or administrator.

@TB. I only know about my school district, but we do attend mandatory training in the summer and are present during the summer learning programs. Also, don't you get paid overtime when you were a few hours over? We don't, so when we spend 14 hours at the school, I think we should have the next day off.

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27trex2013(1 comment)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

So do you consider yourself an hourly worker or a salaried worker? You can't have it both ways. There are plenty of salaried workers working long/extra hours these days. Oh- and they're working about 100 more days per year than teachers. Regarding supplies - how about fewer arts and crafts projects and more reading and writing. That will cut down on the need for glue and crayons.

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282009Erin(3 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

@Trex, so you don't have paid holidays? Even those working in the private sector have paid holidays. Take a few education classes and you will learn that young students learn best when they have hands on materials. Such as using scissors and glue to cut and paste words to create sentences, classify items, etc. I wouldn't expect you to know these things.

They are more engaged and interested in what they are doing by writing with brightly colored crayons than pencils. So the reading and writing is there, I don't know what kind of school you went to, but we do very little "crafts". If you can't afford the school supplies, DON'T have the kids... or better yet, why not attempt to home school them.

We get paid only for the days we work, however, instead of getting paid larger sums only during the months of August through June, we get paid smaller sums and stretch it over 12 months.

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29TB(1167 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Well said Erin
Dwight, you and I must know different teachers. Also when I worked an hourly job, the only time I had to pull a double shift was when I consented. conference night is akin to mandatory shifts. I know of one district at least where teachers work the day after conferences.
Don't forget, our current governor upped the number of calamity days. Ted Strickland was phasing them out.

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30dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

i don't mind the crayons and pencils and paper and glue sticks. what i find out of hand is the list said 15 or 20 gluesticks and 4 bottles of glue, 10 dry erase markers, 4 highlighters, and the pencil case he had was no good because the list said no zippers. really? i keep the things here and i refill as needed. and @pappy again, do some research!!!!! if you go into teaching your loans are forgiven after a period of time. it is in the papers you sign to get the loans.

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31TB(1167 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Dawn that is not true. Forgiveness only applies to a small portion of teachers.
I understand your frustration at supply lists. If your child is using dry erase markers, the school should provide them?

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32dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

yes they should supply them like they supply the chalk to write on blackboards.

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33TB(1167 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Are the students using the dry erase markers?

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34dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

@tb, i guess so since it was on both lists i got from the school for 2nd and 5th graders.

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35TB(1167 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

So where does a supply list end and a parent's responsibility begin?

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36dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

mine ends with buying highlighters and dry erase markers for teachers to use. i dont get what i had to buy 2 boxes of ziploc bags for either as i have yet to see anything brought home in one. my point is the lists are excessive anymore and some things are just not necessary. and with the amount of property taxes paid in Liberty, where does the schools kick in?

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