Parents Outraged Over School Decision During Blizzard Cleanup

As of 9:25 p.m. Sunday, the Portsmouth School District planned to open all schools on Monday while parents voiced their frustration on social media.

The following was written Sunday at 9:25 p.m. 

Updated Monday at 6:09 a.m.

Portsmouth parents voiced their anger and frustration Sunday evening after the Portsmouth School District made plans to open schools Monday. 

[Update] The Portsmouth superintendent announced schools will be closed Monday at 5:45 a.m. The cancellation was due to a "change in weather forecast," according to the local blog Hard Deadlines. 

Some parents posted pictures of snow-covered bus stops on Facebook, like the one featured at right, as an attempt to persuade school officials. 

However, as of 9:25 p.m. Sunday, Portsmouth school officials had made no announcements of school closings. Some parents claimed they received an e-mail about the schools being open Monday; however, other parents said they did not recieve any notice. 

Becky Peckham: emails went out that portsmouth schools ARE open tomorrow.

Amy Lamoureux Courville: Emails went out? From where?

The decision to open Portsmouth schools has outraged parents. As of Sunday at 9:27 p.m., a question on Portsmouth Patch's Facebook page resulted in 108 comments. 

Featured below is a sampling of the comments posted. You can view all 108 comments and growing on Portsmouth Patch's Facebook page

Susan M. Schwartz: I think it is ridiculous! Newport has canceled! Where are these poor children supposed to stand when they are waiting for the bus tomorrow?! In the street?! Completely unacceptable when it comes to the safety of our children!

Erika Joaquin: My boys have another snow day tomor... N that's my call! This is crazy tons of ppl are still w out power!

Alexa Coffey: I'm did not birth any children. However, I spend my life and soul educating and parenting other people's. The only thing we teach those kids tomorrow by sending them to school is to take life in your own hands and risk getting hurt just to keep up with curriculum. I can do the same on June 21, and will do so with your kids outside in the sunshine. Thank you.

Austin Kopp: Come on, I was out shoveling for three and a half hours. It was interesting to see what how much had collected in the tarp covering the boat... But really, come tomorrow, there is gonna be ice all over the roads. And I doubt its gonna be easy for all the kids that walk. In my opinion, another day to sort out wouldn't kill anyone. And knowing how many teachers are from out of state, theres really not enough bang for buck in running school tomorrow. Just my opinion, take it as you will.

Priscilla Anne Smyth Thayer: I am in Island Park without power for evening number 3! Our bus stop on the corner of Park Ave and Cottage Ave (which also has no power) has a pile of snow on it 4ft high. Do you think I'm sending my girl to school tomorrow? Absolutely not!!!!

Traci Vaspol: Streets have not been plowed and there are no safe places to wait for buses, add in the freezing rain in the morning and you are looking at a nightmare situation. This is not about another day to play but a day to be cautious with children's safety.

Portsmouth schools will be among the very few open Monday in the entire state of Rhode Island. Tiverton, Bristol-Warren and Newport schools are all closed Monday. 

Colleges and universities, including Roger Williams University in Bristol, the University of Rhode Island and all Community College of Rhode Island campuses, are also closed. 

Areas of Portsmouth, including Prudence Island, are also still without power. According to National Grid, approximately 240 customers in Portsmouth were still without electricity as of 9:25 p.m. Sunday. 

As of 9:25, Portsmouth school officials did not make any new announcements. 

What do you think about the Portsmouth School District's late decision to close? Was it due to the weather or parents' responses? Tell us in the comment section below! 

Joan Camara February 11, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Is it fair to assume then, that neither the Superintendent, nor the DPW, nor the chair of the School Committee, knew about the location & condition of the school bus stops when they made this decision on Sunday night? So what was the decision based on?
a resident with a watchful eye February 11, 2013 at 11:22 PM
no doubt the final decision to close is the schools....but i maintain it is the Town Administrators fault....Road conditions should be graded A-F, that is excellent to not passable. Somewhere within this grading schedule lies the criteria if schools should be open or not. At the end of business on Sunday or at the appropriate time on Sunday, Klimm should have consulted with his DPW Director before the men were sent home. Then, a decision is made at that time to contact the schools and inform them of road conditions. The men worked a lot of hours......If Klimm felt the roads were good enough for resident travel and for public safety, but not good enough for school, that's fine!!! But, make a decision with ample lead time, not at 5:45 am.
Gary S. February 12, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Several districts are still closed tomorrow or delayed...any word on Portsmouth? Will there be freezing tonight to impact the morning commute?
Gary S. February 12, 2013 at 12:38 AM
I would add if there are plans to call or delay school, please do so this evening for those of us that will need to plan accordingly. Thank you.
Terry A. Gordon February 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM
I agree Kristen.


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