No start on the late start

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No start on the late start

Juliannna Ribble

Juliannna Ribble

Juliannna Ribble

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Since the 2013-2014 school year Kirkwood School District has had a late start schedule in place for days with dangerous road conditions or inclimate weather. The late start delays school one hour and all classes would be shortened. According to Thomas Williams, superintendent, the biggest factor considered for the use of late start is road visibility. In a 55-13 vote TKC staff decided the late start should have been utilized on certain days this year with extremely low temperatures and freezing wind chills.

On Monday, Feb. 23 I remember the distinct feeling walking out of my house at 7:15 a.m. only to feel as though my body temperature had instantly dropped 80 degrees. Any moisture in my skin dried up instantly and my eyes started to water from the icy wind chills encircling my body, making my puffy winter coat and gloves irrelevant.

Luckily for me, my friend’s car was waiting for me at the bottom of my driveway. After yanking the frozen shut car door for a solid three minutes I was safely inside the slightly less freezing car. On the drive to school I didn’t feel comfortably warm until we reached the KHS parking lot.

However, I had the best case scenario: a quick car ride from my house to KHS. But not everyone was as lucky as me that day. Hundreds of kids throughout KSD had to wait at bus stops in the bitter cold as low as two degrees with a negative windchill for anywhere from five to 30 minutes. I have ridden the school busses and they aren’t exactly prompt or reliable. If walking from my house had me irrationally fearing frostbite, I can’t imagine what standing still for 20 minutes in those conditions was like. Not to mention the few brave souls who dared to walk to school in the frigid cold.

TKC staff feels these conditions are worthy of a late start. With exposure to temperatures below 10 degrees for extended periods of time, frostbite is possible. Not to mention hypothermia with insufficient protection from the wind chill. An hour can make a significant difference in temperature and it gives students who take the bus or walk to school the chance to make other arrangements for transportation.

Maybe we’re just whiners. Maybe we should just toughen up and take the risk on that ice covered road. Or walk the typical mile to school in sub-zero temperatures. Huddling on a street corner for 15-plus minutes with a negative wind chill only makes us stronger individuals right? It seems the school board thinks so. But we disagree. When a school district proclaims dedication to the safety and well-being of their students, we expect the administration to keep their word.