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Hazardous Travel Advisory in NYC: Public Schools Will Be Open Today

February 13, 2014 Leave a comment

“It’s our obligation to run a school system.” “Human safety comes first.” “Given what we knew, we felt we could run the schools safely and efficiently today.” These are quotes from Mayor De Blasio’s press conference earlier in the day.

Last night, before any snow fell, the mayor and chancellor made the decision to open schools today. They said it was based on the information they had regarding the weather forecast. Their goal was to give parents maximum notice about the day so they could plan accordingly. These reasons are well and good in principle but, in reality, there was a heavy, horrible, dangerous storm occurring during the morning commute. Incidentally, that was the time children went on school buses, parents walked to school with their children, and school personnel traveled to school – many by car.

As a retired NYC principal, it was my professional obligation to run a school. If you ask me the most important responsibility of my job, I could tell you unequivocally it was to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children and my faculty. Oh, I agree with Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Fariña that, “human safety comes first.” The issue is that they did not demonstrate that concern for the 44% of the children who attended school or the many school personnel who ventured out in untoward conditions to get to their schools as the storm was peaking.

No one is asking the mayor to call off school constantly, as he alluded to, during his conference. I am asking that on days that “Hazardous Travel Advisory in NYC” is plastered all over the TV screen that the words below it read “Public Schools Will Not Be Open Today.” Live by your words Mr. DeBlasio and Ms.Fariña. It’s a good way to do business.

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