Baltimore Schools CEO Apologizes, and Then Doesn’t, for Not Closing Schools Tuesday

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Baltimore City schools CEO Gregory Thornton

Despite the snow yesterday morning, two area school systems — Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County — remained open. By the afternoon, CEOs of both school systems issued apologies for remaining open despite treacherous travel conditions. But the one from Baltimore City Schools CEO Gregory Thornton goes into a skid at the end.

Thornton first explains that Tuesday’s decision was “more challenging” because the forecast was “mixed.” That makes sense. It’s not always easy to make the call. Weather can be very hard to predict. “I want to apologize to the students, families, and staff members who experienced difficult travel conditions this morning,” he writes. Cool. He goes on: “but I also want to thank the thousands of teachers, school leaders, and students who attended today for their commitment to teaching and learning.” Hmm. That’s fair, I guess, in the context of an apology. New paragraph: “At City Schools, we will continue to go above and beyond the call of duty to serve our students and families.” Wait, what? Opening schools despite hazardous weather isn’t going “above and beyond the call of duty;” it’s failing in one’s duty. Slick roads are not an opportunity for faculty and students to prove their “commitment to teaching and learning.” That’s absurd.

In Anne Arundel, three students suffered weather-related injuries. In Baltimore, there were seven weather-related school bus accidents. Baltimore Schools spokeswoman Edie House told the Baltimore Sun there were no children on any of the buses and the accidents didn’t result in injuries.

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  1. What about weather-related teacher injuries? I’ve heard of two teachers who slipped on untreated ice on school property, one of whom was taken to the hospital, and at least one car accident on school property due to slippery conditions.

  2. Baltimore City parents need to speak out to the new superintendent, because most of the students have to walk the streets as the sidewalks are inundated with the surplus snow from the streets!

  3. Besides awful weather the school I teach at didn’t have heat. District said it was okay since school average temp was 50. What? Who sets their house thermostat at 50? My poor kids couldn’t write because their hands were so cold.

  4. This article is terrible. “Three students suffered weather related injuries”!?! I’d bet there were significantly more sled related injuries.

    Additionally, there are many Baltimore city students that wouldn’t recieve a healthy meal on Tuesday if schools were closed. I think in the big picture it was the right way to err.

    Our society is getting weak. These school super-intendants make a ton of important decisions any day of the weak. Stop worrying about other people doing their job and focus on your job. If Americans worried more about their own decisions we’d all be benefit.

    • Corey,
      Anne Arundel’s weather-related injuries, as reported by the Baltimore Sun, were as follows: a brother and sister crashed into a tree and were trapped in the car — one for 20 minutes, the other for an hour. “The girl appeared to have life-threatening injuries when emergency crews first arrived, but her condition stabilized when she got to the hospital.” So far, it appears that weather was a “major factor” in the accident.

      A third student was struck by a car after she fell while crossing the street and was rushed to the hospital with minor injuries. I would be very surprised if there were “significantly more sled related injuries” of the same magnitude.

      I also disagree that we would benefit by only worrying about our own jobs. “Worrying about other people doing their job” is accountability.

    • If students eating was the major concern then a plan for such, in instances like these, must be implemented. Why sacrifice the safety and lives of thousands? As we say in the Army…Piss, Poor, Prior, Planning! This isn’t about being weak.

  5. He shall pay my medical bills if I am injured due his none closing winter
    weather conditions. Unlike most county school I do not have a bus service to pick me up and take me where I need to go. Public transportation is how I get to school. I can not wait to be a happy snowman in summer!

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