Kanawha Co School Board defends decision to start on-time despite weather, driving conditions

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It was a controversial decision, to say the least.  Kanawha County Schools opted to begin on time, despite the forecast that the StormTracker 13 Weather Team predicted for Tuesday, January 16.

We asked how you felt about the decision, and the response was overwhelming. 

The Kanawha County School Board made the decision to be the only school system in our region to start on time and around 10 a.m., they made the call to let out two hours early.

“It would have been a simple courtesy to just cancel and not have everybody out here, said an older brother, picking up his little sister from Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary.

An uncle picking up his nephew from the same school said, “Nobody should be out in this weather.”

“Have consideration for the young kids,” said a grandmother picking up her grandaughter from Dunbar Intermediate.

We asked for your opinion on social media and comment after comment, parents asked how was this decision made and why was it made.

Many of the parents we’ve spoken with, whether it be on social media, via email, or in person, said they’re not thrilled with the decision based on the conditions of the roads, and other factors. 

I did reach out to Kanawha County Schools.  The response is a prepared, written statement.  The board denied my request to go on camera.

They said, “The Kanawha County Schools transportation department has access to both 24-hour AccuWeather and National Weather Service data, The data reviewed this morning by transportation and district leaders, and also reported by local news stations, showed that the storm’s largest snowfall had been delayed four hours from original predictions -putting the heaviest snowfall between 2-6 p.m. The district decided to dismiss early to get students home before this predicted snowfall. Kanawha County School provides many students with the only meals they receive each day. Today, buses were able to transport students to school, they were fed breakfast and lunch, and will dismiss early to avoid the heaviest local snowfall.”

Brandon Duke Williams, who was picking up his nephew Tuesday from a local school said, “I’d rather a kid stay at home and their parents figure them out something to eat than risk their lives.”

I spoke to this South Charleston High School Student- she says she fell on her way into school today.  Isabel Weimer said,  “You gotta think about the kids on the back roads.  I mean, our road isn’t a back road.  It’s in the city, but we don’t get plowed.  Up in the creeks and the hollers- they don’t get plowed or salted.”

I spoke with a grandmother who has to walk her 8-year-old grandaughter up and down a hill every morning, because their road- it’s just too icy to drive on.  “Have some consideration for the kids and just plan better.  They knew it was going to get bad today,” said Beverly Slusher.

There’s no denying- parents have very strong opinions on the decision.  In the meantime, the school board is standing by their decision to start on time. 

This is a story 13 News will continue to follow.  Stay with us for more.

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