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Joplin Schools Split Decision on Canceling Classes for Middle/Hi - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Schools Split Decision on Canceling Classes for Middle/High School and Not Elementary Frustrates Parents

Updated:
   Late school cancellations caused confusion and frustration for parents in Joplin today.

   Busses carrying elementary students were already close to arriving at school when roads were getting slick with snow and the district decided to  keep elementary schools open but to cancel middle and high school.

Third  graders  at Irving elementary combined classes for indoor recess and the school combined kindergarten and first grade lunch sessions as so many classmates stayed home. The district reports attendance at between forty to fifty percent.

Some elementary students were pulled to go home early by parents worried about  the roads.

Alicia Gordon did that with her third grader Chase. But that was after earlier dropping him off  believing he would be considered absent if he hadn't gone to school.  "It was just incredibly frustrating for me to have another small child home to get out in these conditions,  to bundle up, prepare for, and  to get  a phone call five minutes later  you could come get him."

Shelly Williams shared her frustrations,  "I don't like the last minute notifications. With four kids, you've got to be able to plan and knowing what the weather was like, I really didn't want to be out myself let alone taking a young child to school and feel  it was safe for her." Williams also has a high school student who was then at home so she kept her fourth grader at home as well.

Superintendent C.J. Huff says students who came to school on busses might not have had family at home and found warmth and lunch at school.

But  Gordon says the late split  decision created dangers for older students in her neighborhood.  "There's a bus  stop across the street  from our home for middle school.  I saw children  standing out  there, even  up to the point when i came home from dropping my student off.  I don't think  they were aware school had been canccanceled don't think they knew the bus wasn't coming for them."

Huff says,  “A lot of unilateral  decisions had to be made relatively quickly just because of the nature of the weather and the way it came in."

Huff says the National Weather Center predicted a dry snow to come later and not ice when he took part in a conference call at 4:15 this morning.

Gordon argues otherwise saying she had been watching the local forecast herself, "We knew  it was coming. It had been broadcast for the last  two days."

Students who didn't make it to school or whose parents picked them up early will not be marked with an absence. And the superintendent says he's sorry for the inconvenience.

Huff says, "As far as  our parents are concerned certainly, I  apologize for the confusion and chaos it created around households in Joplin.  But more importantly,  we were able to get all the kids (elementary)  into school safely."

And huff was  confident students who did stay at school would get home safely even if it was more slowly than normal.

 Huff says he did drive the roads this morning and was able to brake hard and get quick starts up until 6:50 a.m. when conditions changed quickly.

Joplin schools are already cancelled focanceledy. 
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