NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Snowfall at the worst possible time prompted Midlothian school officials to call off classes for half its students -- but only half of them.
The snow hit partway through the school bus run to pick up the first wave of elementary school students. Because of the deteriorating roads, classes were then called off for middle and high school students.
"We were actually on our way to school, so it was kind of funny because there were already kids at school. I started laughing," fifteen-year-old freshman Aubrey Walton told CBS 11 News.
Aubrey's mother, Andrea Walton, had just dropped off her youngest child at school when she became an impromptu snow day den mother. "We've had a full morning," Walton deadpanned.
Ultimately 15 kids wound up at the Walton home. Walton and one other adult became chaperones for suddenly liberated middle and high-schoolers, who spent the day having snowball fights, watching movies, and drinking hot chocolate.
Kelby Buchanan got the news by reading Twitter. "I was really excited, because a lot of people around us weren't going to school and it was unfair," she said. "So, I was really excited when I found out."
Since the first round of students were already in class it was decided they should stay. They went home in the afternoon when streets improved. Administrators used social media to get the word out about the older students.
No one would go on camera, and the statement sent out by Midlothian ISD administrators did apologize for any inconvenience; but it stressed safety and said in part -
"We know that when we delay the start of school or cancel the school day completely, it has a significant impact on families."
Having driven the roads for her grade-schooler, Walton approves of the district's decision. "The main streets weren't but the back roads were very slick. We heard reports of buses in other school districts that had tipped over and cars that were in ditches this morning on the back roads," she said.
Case in point: a Mansfield bus with two students and two adults slid and turned over on the morning ice. Fortunately no one was hurt. No such issue in Midlothian, Andrea Walton concluded. "I don't know that I've ever seen it happen this way but I do think it was a good idea."
Midlothian school officials told CBS 11 News that two snow days were already built into the calendar, but two additional snow days have now been scheduled for April 3 and May 22.
The full text of the MISD announcement on school closings Wednesday morning is below -
"Occasionally, rapidly changing weather impacts our daily schedule. Weather conditions are carefully reviewed before classes are canceled, started late, or dismissed early. We know that when we delay the start of school or cancel the school day completely, it has a significant impact on families.
District administrators are required to make a decision as early as 5:00 a.m. on weather related situations so we can dispatch transportation, notify parents, staff, local media and post information using our website, ParentLink and other resources.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused by decisions made today due to the inclement weather. Again, we are committed to making a decision based on the current weather reports, student safety, staff safety, road conditions and local law enforcement input.
Today at 5:00 a.m. the administration decided to start school at the normal time based on current road and weather conditions.
Buses left at 6:00 a.m. to begin the elementary routes. Toward the end of the elementary routes, the weather conditions worsened causing the district to delay the secondary (6th-12th) start time until 10:00 a.m. in order for students and buses to arrive at school safely.
At approximately 8:40 a.m., because of reported road conditions and delay in bus routes, it was decided to close all secondary schools. Elementary schools would remain on normal schedule since they had already arrived safely at their campuses and weather conditions should be vastly improved by dismissal at 2:45 today.
We appreciate your understanding as we continue to try and make the best decisions to keep students safe. Please email us if you have any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org."
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