Some parents, students angry about schools staying open during brutal cold

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 28, 2013)– Area schools and universities have been forced to make some decisions based on the subzero temperatures.

While IUPUI in Downtown Indianapolis and Purdue University in Lafayette chose to keep normal hours with a special warning about bundling up to staff, students and faculty, area school corporations had a different message for parents.

Indianapolis Public Schools closed with a message that in part read, “The safety of our students, staff and families is paramount.” However, Avon Community Schools and the Brownsburg Community School Corporation instead opted for a 2-hour delay on Tuesday.

“They don’t have the proper equipment. Not everyone is as lucky as everyone else,” said Carissa Melton, an Avon Community Schools parent about her kids winter gear.

She said she is confused by the school districts decision. She kept her three kids home Tuesday very concerned about their commute.

“I took one kid to school and let the other one go straight onto the bus. I waited in the car with him,” said Lisa Hall, a Brownsburg parent.

“It’s really cold,” said Mindy Ziegler, an IUPUI student who said her kids had no school today, and she thought that was the right decision for them.
She continued. “Everyone here is an adult. You can just make a decision on whether or not you want to be outside.”

Purdue University released a lengthy statement on its decision to remain open that in part read,”The decision is based on a careful consideration by the administration and an assessment of the National Weather Service forecast.”
The University staff also mentioned only closing once ever for extreme cold temperatures.

Parents of local teens and kids also had questions for school officials. In an email, a Brownsburg parent writes: “If the Mayor of Indianapolis, whether it is right or wrong, can shut down government offices for a day, where it is ADULT workers, why would we put our children in a dangerous situation.”

Avon Community Schools declined a FOX59 interview to discuss its decision-making process, but school officials later sent this statement to answer several questions asked of the school system:

“Every district has a different set of issues to contend with when it comes to delaying or cancelling school. Our number one priority is safety. Avon has very few sidewalks and therefore we transport the vast majority of our students. Many other districts have a policy of only transporting students who live more than one mile away. Therefore they have far more walkers than we do. Roads were dry, no precipitation was predicted and the temperature did not go as low as predicted. We are fortunate to have a strong bus system and have at least 8 back-up buses ready to dispatch should we have a problem.”

“We are also grateful to our parents who cooperate and help each other by providing shelter in homes or cars at bus stops. Many neighborhoods have worked out detailed schedules of how they work together to shelter students waiting for buses to keep them safe and warm. It is that kind of parent assistance that is a hallmark of our community.”

Requests can be made with the state to excuse mandatory make up days.

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