My Turn: Delaying schools for cold weather? - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Delaying schools for cold weather?

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It's cold outside these days.  I get that.  But what exactly are we gaining by opening our schools two hours later?

I've defended the superintendents in this forum before when we've had potential dangerous driving conditions.  But not this time.  Ice isn't an issue.  No rain and certainly no hurricanes.  They shouldn't make the claim that this is to keep the children at the bus stops warm.  One or two degrees warmer at 9:00 is not a big game changer.  And I believe Tuesday's "wind-chill" was exactly the same. 

My guess here is that a couple school districts made an early and unfortunate call to delay school and the rest just fell in line. Sadly, we're sending a message to these children that we can't adapt to change and we're not responsible enough to maintain our commitments. 

In the litany of calls and news releases from schools yesterday, I'm told one email stood out.  Cape Fear Academy emailed our newsroom and said, "Will you please let viewers know that we will actually open on time tomorrow?"

No wonder they set the standard for quality education in this town.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.


 

Emailed comments from viewers:

On this piece you said:

"Cape Fear Academy emailed our newsroom and said, 'Will you please let viewers know that we will actually open on time tomorrow?'  No wonder they set the standard for quality education in this town."

Praising the ultra-wealthy, are you?

Most NHCS students are not being chauffeured to school in pre-heated Jaguars, Mercedes, BMWs, and Escalades.

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The problem with public education today is that too many people think they know more about what is best than the people with experience to deal with it. Maybe I should run a TV station. Oh wait I've only been a teacher for 30 years. We don't have good judgment.

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I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the "knee jerk" reaction given by the various school boards in delaying the beginning of the school day. The school boards claim it is a safety issue in the implementation of the delays. Well once again, the obvious escapes them. Instead of inconveniencing the thousands of families, why not just bring the bus drivers and school maintenance personnel (in my day they were known as "janitors") one or two hours earlier to address these "safety concerns"and this is becomes a non issue?

Well done School boards! You have proven yet again, that over complication is never the best solution!

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Please get your facts straight. The schools did not call schools 2 hour late "just" for the students who stand out at buses. But as a matter of fact, Cape Fear Academy does not have a high percentage of students who ride buses that DO stand out at buses NOW do they? I work at a Title 1 school with at least 82% free and reduced lunch program and yes they do stand out at the bus and many of them do not have the appropriate clothes to stand out at the bus stop so THAT is just ONE of the problems BUT NOT the main problem.

One of the main problems is that the schools need to be checked for HEAT. I have been at the same school for over 20 years and there is a problem when you show up and there is NO heat in 4-12 class rooms and no where for you to re locate that many children. (Just a few months ago we had no A/C for 2 weeks in 12 class rooms of children and it took 2 days for the county to respond. (Do you really think children can learn in these conditions???

Also, should we put children in buses if we are not sure that the brakes are working correctly? Sir get your facts right. We are in the south. Our vehicles are made for the south!

Maybe you are a transplant and you are used to this but in the south we are not! You need to get your facts straight - I appreciate ALL of the superintendents for thinking of the health and safety of ALL the children!

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I agree my children wait inside til the bus pulls up anyway....

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Does Cape Fear have running buses that may leave at 5:30 - 6:00 am and travel routes several miles long, even dirt roads? Do the students have to stand out and wait for transportation?

Not all buses are new and they can have problems and not crank...which happened in some instances today.

Isn't it better for administrators/maintenance to have time to check out old buildings, buses, lunchrooms, heating  and take care of problems before students arrive. Several buildings are detached from the main school building.

Bus drivers had more time to blow the horn and wait  for students to come out of the house. Students have to report to school by 7:45 in some places. How many adults report to work by 8:00am?

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I have watched your segment for several years now and have never given my feedback, but your statements today regarding the public school opening delays due to the cold weather really struck a nerve.  I do not have a strong opinion one way or another about the delays, however your closing statement about Cape Fear Academy "setting the standard for quality education in this town" is extremely offensive to those of us who support the public school system and choose to send our children to public schools. 

 

The public school system is not perfect, however it is extremely unfair to compare public and private school decisions pertaining to matters of child safety.  Those who pay ~$25,000 a year to send their child to Cape Fear Academy, do not rely on bus transportation for their children.  The majority of those students are riding to school on heated seats in luxury automobiles and their parents do not need to worry about their child standing out in the dark freezing cold at 6:15 A.M. waiting to catch a bus. 

I also do not agree that delaying the opening of school is sending a message "that we can't adapt to change and we're not responsible enough to maintain our commitments".  Are private schools that are "selective" in their acceptance of students sending the message that they are able to "adapt" to various students - whether it be socioeconomic or academic diversity? 

There are many well educated, affluent parents who support the public school system and choose this over a private school setting. There are also those parents who do not have a choice in the matter.  Either way, to hear someone in your position make statements that make parents feel they are not providing the best for their families is a true slap in the face.  I am hoping that your receive similar responses to your segment and issue an apology.  

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So let's think about it... Does Cape Fear Academy have buses? No. Do they have a nice new brick building ? Yes.. Who gets the kids to school? Me? No ... How about mom or dad ... It is Cape Fear Academy a public school ? No. Is this school chartered ? No.. Does it cost a lot of money ? Yes... I can't afford to send my kids there..... So who does? Most likely well affluent families ...So why can they open at regular hours? Well money talks , doesn't it?

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Maybe you do think that schools should not have delayed opening on Tuesday and Wednesday. Perhaps you should have used another standard for not delaying school openings. How many Cape Fear Academy students have to get up early and stand on the street to wait for a bus? How many of them have to walk to school?

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Does cape fear academy have buses to run?  Could that be the reason they are able to start at normal time?  Just wondering...

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Might we remind you that most if not all students that attend The Academy are driven to school and don't have to wait in the cold on the bus!!

Hmmm maybe food for thought!!!

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You really think this is about teaching our kids to honor commitments?  I would dare say that many students strolling into cape fear academy aren't waiting at the bus stop.  They are delivered to school in their parents range rover or Mercedes.  In terms of commitment most of those students are privileged to say the least.  To a large extent, the same can be said for other more well to do families with children attending public schools.  Most drive up in nice vehicles or have their parents take then to school.  My family has been in that boat on many occassions.  But there are some students who dont have those luxuries.  They have to wait in wind chills that we wouldn't want our own children in.  Im with you on making things less easy on our children -- on teaching them commitment and dealing with adversity.  One of those adversities would be attending public school versus being educated at private school.  Don't use private school as an example of commitment when our little angels are delivered in $70,000 vehicles

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I am usually not compelled to comment on these segments,however this one struck me as especially insensitive. To state that obviously Cape Fear Academy's call to open without delay is a reflection on the quality of education received there is nonsense. As the Mother of two college graduates that were educated in New Hanover County Schools such a remark is highly insulting. With record breaking cold across the nation. How naive to state that a delay was not a sensible decision. To be so removed that you are unable to realize that many children in this area do not even have proper clothing. However I am sure when those students from CFA  a private and expensive school are dropped off and exit the heated leather seats in the family sedan, wearing their top of the line ski wear, after a healthy breakfast that they are nice and toasty.  How smug to even  insinuate such a scenario. Across the city many homes have frozen pipes and little to no heat,but even with that it is warmer inside than walking to school in the wind or waiting for a cold bus. I really wish that you had pondered your thoughts for a short while before you spoke, possibly outside around 6:30 am.

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The reasoning behind the delay makes perfect sense.  Wind chill can be very dangerous.  Just because wind chill isn't as newsworthy as hurricanes and tornadoes doesn't make it less dangerous.  In fact, it can be more dangerous because people are not familiar with its dangers.  Its just common sense to delay school to keep children out of these conditions until its safer. 

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Yes it was cold outside and kids are not use to the cold.Even up north the schools closed due to cold weather and they have the stuff to keep the roads clear.Your weather men even said to bundle up if have to go outside if not stay in doors where it is warm.I work outside every day and I stayed home out of the cold so I don't blame the schools for doing what they did.

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Actually, you left out the most important reason New Hanover Schools opted for a 2 hour delay- If there are any problems with the buses starting up in this cold weather, than that leaves the kids at bus stops even longer in dangerous cold temperatures. This explanation was given when it was first announced yesterday to parents, yet you only focused on your viewers not being able to adapt to change and not setting an example?! This (Polar Vortex) is an unusual weather phenomenon grasping the whole country, so there are many people who are trying to adapt to this change! And, it is offensive to state that Cape Fear Academy sets the standard by operating on a regular schedule and is the leader in education in New Hanover County. Cape Fear Academy does NOT bus their students to it's school; and does a private education with a huge tuition bill make them a superior school to public schools? NO!

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Just saw your segment. Usually enjoy them but have to disagree this time buddy . I'm a 2nd grade teacher in Nhcs and actually had a student in shorts today. You made a point to show cape fear academy email. There's something you are really missing. Heated cars  or public school buses. Does cape fear academy have several buses they run? And if they do I bet the neighborhoods are a little different. It's basically a Patagonia jacket vs old navy. Just basing this of what my friend who teaches at cape fear academy has shared. Tad bit different

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Gary, you have hit the nail on the head again!

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Coastal Christian High School  sets the standard for excellence in our community as well.  The students returned to class today,  January 7th,  as scheduled too.  The wonderful and dedicated staff went to school earlier than the students to ensure that the building was warm when students arrived.

In addition to Cape Fear Academy, we are also very fortunate to have Coastal Christian High School as a choice of high schools in our community.  The students and families of Coastal Christian High School are very grateful for our Administrator, Mr. Pethtel and his extraordinary staff who lead by example, one of excellence.

Thank you for recognizing the excellence of Coastal Christian High School as well.

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I just heard your opinion about school delays, I can understand what you were saying about schools in the city, but rural areas such as Brunswick County is so different.  Some bus drivers in Brunswick County leave home at 4:00 AM, and they have to travel on lots of dirt roads.

The dirt roads were wet and frozen over and it was still dark at 4:00. Also a lot of the roads had water on them and had what we call black ice.  So I can see why it would be much safer to wait until day light to get on the roads.    Also, I bet you didn't know that bus drivers CANNOT crank up their buses and let them warm up, when they crank the bus, they have to leave immediately.    I understand why they delayed school for 2 hrs. because they thought it would be safer and I agree.

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I am amazed at your comment that Cape Fear Academy sets the standard for education in this community.  And, it's because they started school on time this AM.????   How absurd, and how arrogant of you!  I assume that you are unaware of the hardships that go along with being poor in this community, and, yes, the poor have to send their children to school, also, whether or not they have shoes, coats, scarves or gloves, etc.  It might be the same temp at 10 AM or the same windchill, but it just might give those parents a little more time to find warmer clothing, etc. for their children.  And, btw, you have no idea who sets the standards for education in our community.  I would suggest that you look at some of the public schools that, despite incredible odds against, manage to offer quality education in the classrooms that are overcrowded, underfunded and have teachers who, along with your crass comments, face obstacles unknown to you and me, yet prepare and deliver daily!  I think that you owe them an apology!  Disgusted with local media in this area, and local commentators who think that, since they have  a bully pulpit, their opinion is something that the community is interested in.  Do your job and get off the stump!

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Ok here's a thought. Because of the extreme cold temperatures NHCS had a delay to ensure that the school busses were operating properly. It takes an awful lot of effort to bring the vehicles up to proper operating temperatures when outside temperatures are so low.  There are at least 7 fluids that must be warmed before the bus is safe to operate. All have a very thick viscosity, and it takes longer. Another point. Perhaps the school system wanted to ensure the school buildings climate systems were operating properly as well. I feel like the NHCS did the correct thing in looking out for the comfort of our children. I'm afraid you got it totally wrong this time.

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I'm a mother of two school-aged children. Three years ago my children and I were in a life threatening car accident when schools did not take precautions due to weather...black ice. We were among over 100 wrecks that day. Please stop discouraging schools from considering our safety first!!

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If my child went to a private school, I would expect them to open on time as well.  They don't have school buses.  Have you ever stood in the dark in 16 degree weather to wait for a school bus?  That is what you are saying the children from families that don't have the money to afford private school should have to do.  Think about what you are saying.  Would you want a 5 year old or 7 year old standing out in the cold waiting for the bus in those temperatures?  We are not used to this cold here and yes it is an inconvenience to the parents that school is taking in later, but these same parents will tell you they are glad that their children do not have to be frostbitten waiting for the bus.  Thank you for allowing me to have My Turn.

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Very surprised and shocked that you would say that Cape Fear Academy sets the standard for quality education in this town. That is the criteria you are using??? The children that go to CFA don't have to stand outside at 6:45 in the morning to catch a bus either.

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I agree the school system should not be delaying school due to some cold weather.  However, your final comment on why Cape Fear Academy sets the standard in education was both ignorant and offensive.

Most of us don't have 15K a year to send our kids to school and we support the public school system.  You should think before you speak.

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Schools made a bad call.

The way I look at it, when it rains we go to the bus stops wait in our cars with our kids for the bus or take our kids to school, we don't let our kids get wet. So why not wait at the bus stop in a nice warm car or take them to school when it's cold?

Their was only 2-5 degrees difference in temps this morning the 2 hr delay made no difference what so ever.

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Thank you for your piece. I have noticed more and more as time goes on that cancelling and delaying school is becoming more and more prominent. What kind of productivity was lost by parents that had to go to work 2 hours late? What did the school's decision on a whim cost the family, the employer, and even the student? Now those students will have to make up that time at a later date. It seems there are more and more 1/2 days, more teacher work days and more spur of the moment cancellations. Education is important, commitment is important, follow through is important. Thank you for your presentation. I do not really feel I would have been heard, had I called or emailed the school board directly. Falling in line as you said is what I feel they did. People are less and less willing to make a decision and stand behind it, they want others to decide and then they follow up with "well everyone did it".

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I'm a mother of two school-aged children. Three years ago my children and I were in a life threatening car accident when schools did not take precautions due to weather...black ice. We were among over 100 wrecks that day. Please stop discouraging schools from considering our safety first!!

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Your argument is idiotic. As a high school student I have to get on the bus at 6am and with a wind chill down in the single numbers it is insane! I can under stand the delay because I drove this morning to my school and almost lost control when I hit an ice patch and several other people also had the same problem so don't complain to our school systems when all they're trying to do is protect an look out for us. Thanks for wasting time on a great tv program.

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I enjoy this segment of the news.  Today, I will have to disagree with you for the first time.  My grandson gets on the bus between 6:15 and 6:30 every morning.   By 8:15 this morning, the weather, while still very cold, had warmed up enough to be able to tell the difference.  We were lucky enough to be able to drive him to the bus stop and sit with him, while there are those who are not.  It may only be a few degrees, but early in the morning it seems to make a difference I think.

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I felt the desire to respond to your editorial that stated :"My guess here is that a couple school districts made an early and unfortunate call to delay school and the rest just fell in line. Sadly, we're sending a message to these children that we can't adapt to change and we're not responsible enough to maintain our commitments. " I believe delaying the start of schools showed students that our primary concern is their health and safety. There may not have been a huge temperature difference between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m but the 2 hour delay allowed county garages to handle and delays caused by a fleet of busses that are not used to operating in below freezing temperatures. A non-working heater is a nuisance in 40 degree weather but is unhealthy with a wind chill factor in the teens or below. It was not a "few school districts" but most of the state that utilized a 2 hour delay to ensure that students were not left standing in record-breaking cold weather, in the dark because a bus failed to start. In addition, they were fiscally conservative as they did not have to pay the overtime that requiring all drivers and mechanics to report to work 2 hours early would have caused.

I would like to address your comment;  "Cape Fear Academy emailed our newsroom and said, "Will you please let viewers know that we will actually open on time tomorrow?"

No wonder they set the standard for quality education in this town." I admire my colleagues who teach at Cape Fear Academy (shout out to Rebecca Best, the instrumental music teacher) and recognize the fine work that goes on there. I do not believe they have to rely upon hundreds of public school busses to deliver students to their school. Please make sure that you are cognizant of all the facts before you compare apples and oranges.

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What about the children who wait on a bus or walk to schools? A two hour delay let's the temps rise a bit. Sure some parents are inconvenienced by having to make arrangements to get to work late or whatever, but that's part of being a parent.

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You are so right on.  Where I've lived, WV, IL, Ohio, Pa, Ct, and as a former teacher we bundled up weathered thru the cold.  Snow and ice are a different story.

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My name is Ginny Pridgen and I am a teacher in Brunswick County Schools. I teach 6th grade at Shallotte Middle School. I am a true native (I have lived here my whole life, including my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents on both sides). I attended Shallotte Middle as a child. I don't think there are many of us left.

I understand how some would view the delay as unnecessary. If I had lived my entire life in ND, NY, NJ, or other of the northern states, my body would be acclimated to the cold temps. However, I am not from the north. I can remember almost every snowflake I have seen in my life! Snow is a glorious fascination for us southerners. But...I am not acclimated to severely cold weather. I didn't have a heavy coat until I took a trip to NYC a few years ago. That is just the coastal NC way of life!

I applaud the "Powers that Be" for delaying school. School buses needed to be checked for heat and several had to be replaced for that reason. School's water pipes were checked. The heat in each classroom was checked...ALL before the students arrived. Would anyone want their child sitting on a cold bus or in a cold classroom?

Please understand all decisions are made with only the child in mind. Let me repeat that. Schools are in business for CHILDREN. I am very sorry your morning may have been upset but if even one child was affected by this weather, there would be a lot more people upset that nothing was done. 

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..Unfortunately our schools down here where I live are old schools our heating is really really out of date So when its colder, our heaters does not work well at all.So the schools are looking out for our kids. Before u down school boards for making a bad decision u need to look into why they are letting schools go in 2hours late.They cant just make half of our schools in the  county go on time and half on delay..Their is a reason,,So that is why u have your turn and I have had mine!!!

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 I think a bad precedence/mistake is being made with these closings. They are teaching these kids excuses about why these there are so many closings when they just had 2 weeks off for Xmas vacation! In NJ, it could be 2-3ft of snow on the ground with bad wind chills, and the doors would be open and wondering what time you where going to be there. Now that they have cell phones and the like, homework and other things like exercise will suffer since it will be too cold outside or maybe they just won't feel like doing anything but texting or playing with their Xbox! Sad...

 They should have enough common sense to dress warmer going to the bus stop and to toughen up since so it's not a I can't go to school/work because it's too cold outside!!! Whah......

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you do not know a thing about buses an trucks an cold weather. you get in your car from a garage an drive to work. then you go in to your office were its warm. you would not last a day working out side. I drove  trucks for a lot of years. when it 16 d  out side the line freeze up. an other things go wrong. you need to learn things an how they work before you open your big mouth.  I will not watch you any more.  try to get it right, before you open your mouth about things you no nothing about.

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As a "non wealthy" Cape Fear Academy parent, I'd like to say it is ignorant for your viewers to comment on what types of cars we drive and how much tuition we pay. CFA has a diverse community and yes, just like in public school, some families may be wealthy, but for the majority of us, private school tuition is something that we sacrifice and budget for.

I was thrilled that CFA decided to open on time. As for the public schools, I don't believe they need to answer to anyone about their decision. They made the call and I'm sure they have a protocol to follow. Safety first.

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I, for one, applaud the school systems decision to be proactive during this recent cold snap.  They actually thought about the issues that may arise from this very cold weather and made a plan to ensure that our children were not stranded at bus stops or stuck in cold buildings with no heat and/or water.  They delayed the start of school for the past two days to make sure that everything was working properly before they brought the children into the schools not because the temperatures would be that much warmer at 10 am.  People would have been upset if something had happened to a student or if they had to close a school once everyone was already there etc.  It was a small inconvenience for the sake of our kids and I think it was worth it.   

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I have to admit, I usually turn the channel when your segment comes on.  Last night, unfortunately, I listened to your commentary and realized even more why I tune you out.  Your opinion on the NHCS two hour delay was ridiculous and ignorant.  In this record setting cold weather it is important to consider the well being of our children in this community.  You ignored the fact that there are many children who do not have the appropriate outerwear to protect them from this type of weather.  In no way should it be considered a teaching moment on how to adapt under certain conditions.  I'm sure that if your child was waiting at a bus stop when the temperature was a "balmy" 5 degrees windchill you would find another means of getting him or her to school.  Most parents do not have that luxury and depend on our county school buses to provide transportation for their children.
 
The comment that shocked me the most was your reference to Cape Fear Academy setting the standard for education in our town.  I am not sure why you felt that was even relevent to the subject at hand.  This comment was a slap in the face to all of the teachers, principles, children and parents that work tremendously hard to make our public school system a safe and strong learning environment.  You should be ashamed.  I, unlike most parents in this county, could afford to send my children to CFA if I so chose.  Instead, I support my neighborhood public school and encourage others to do the same. 
 
I will, however, say that this experience has been a teaching moment for me.  I've learned the importance of continuing to turn the channel when you come on. 

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Last night As I listened to your editorial about schools' delayed opening for the second morning in a row, I found myself in total agreement with you.

But when you mentioned the email from Cape Fear Academy and uttered, "No wonder they set the standard for quality education in this town," I was stunned.

First, they are a private school.  They can do whatever they want to do regardless of what the county orders.  Also, they don't have to deal with any busing whatsoever.

Second, that Cape Fear officials make the (granted) good decision to open on time does not mean they offer a better education than public schools.  They might be the most expensive school in town, but that does not translate into providing "the standard for quality education."

As a public school parent, I resent your unfounded statement.

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I TOTALLY agree with your view on delaying school by 2 hours due to cold weather. What difference could 2 hours and 2 degrees make?! It demonstrates the lack of importance the county puts on education, thus North Carolina's extremely poor nationwide standing.  Gives our kids the idea that education is not important or worth a little discomfort. 

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Many of you raise very valid points pointing out the achievement gap, and the difficulties of working in a title 1 school, but that is no need to speak poorly of the students and families who elect to go to any private school including Cape Fear Academy. Regardless of a students background, I personally think that all children have the same desires for attention, entertainment, companionship, and love regardless of how much their family makes or the quality of the school in which they receive their education. So regardless of whether it was a good or bad decision to delay public school openings. It's perfectly reasonable for Cape Fear Academy to explain that our school is open during a delay which is equally as worthy of the news as all the closing and delay's that are mentioned on the news. This isn't about rich or poor but about whats best for the students so lets leave the hatred at the door people.

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To all of the people with derogatory comments regarding Cape Fear Academy: please stop saying offensive things about a school just because they do not have buses.  My children go to Cape Fear Academy, and I will challenge anyone on the quality of education they receive.  I do not drive a Mercedes OR a BMW OR a Range Rover OR any of the other types of cars listed in the wealth of condescending comments.  We make great sacrifices to send our children there, as do many many families that send their children there, so please stop stereotyping the kids and families that attend CFA.  I cannot comment on public schools, but CFA places a very high standard on the quality of education and time spent in the classroom.  But if it is dangerous for the kids to travel to school, whether in a bus, a fancy car, or a 15-year-old mini-van, CFA will cancel school just like the public schools.  If it is not dangerous, they won't.

I agree schools should be delayed when there is a safety concern.  But there was no ice, high winds, or even rain.  Just cold.  I see the kids getting to school two hours late as two hours less of an education.

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I was very disappointed in your remarks on CAPE FEAR ACADEMY starting school on time during the extremely cold weather.  It was a very unethical segment and a very one sided opinion for the very elite population of the area.  There are so many more students that the New Hanover County authorities have to consider.  Good for Cape Fear, that's their right, but it is also the right for New Hanover County to make their decision for what they do.  You didn't think about the heating situation of the schools.  Two hours would give them enough time to increase the temperature. I know at work when the heat is turned down for the night that two hours would make a big difference in the temperature.  It sounded so silly to the point that you were taking sides because it could possibly help your channel financially.  I have a daughter that could put her child in Cape Fear in a heart beat.  I have a son that has his daughter, my granddaughter, in public school.   I would hate to think that you could influence authorities to change their decisions down the road.. Accidents happen all the time in normal weather, not to mention bad weather.  I hope you will be able to sleep at night if something happens to a child due to what you think not to  mention how the kids will feel if they hear WECT TV taking sides with the elite.  Shame on you.  Colldn't you think of something else to talk about.  Very disappointed since most of the time I do agree with you.  Do you have someone at Cape 

Fear or friends that do?  Whatever it sounded like you were taking sides for some reason other than the right reason.   And they don't make the high standard, there are so many drugs coming out of there and kids that think they are better than someone else, when indeed they are not. I have a cousin that taught there and she could tell you some things that would contradict your comment about high standards.  If they can buy them maybe so, but high standards start at the family level and you don't have to be part of Cape Fear for that.  And that is my opinion..

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I am a school bus driver. If you know anything about school buses you would know that they have diesel engines and they are very hard to crank in cold weather and they take longer to warmup. This is sending the message to our children that we should do everything possible to keep them safe and protected from the weather no matter what the weather may be. 

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I am total agreement with the NHC  Superintendent who delayed the  schools for a two hour delay.  Mr. McNair – I do not  believe you have children or grandchildren who attend NHC Schools.     This superintendent was proactive in delaying the start time  by two hours.   NHC Schools have a very diverse group of children who travel by bus or parent-drivers to these schools.   We must protect them – the night before each delay we did not know if the buses would start – we  did not know if the schools had frozen pipes, no running water, no heating, ice on the roads.   You disappoint me.    I happen to have a grandchild staying with me at this time, and I was so grateful I had two hours delay to get him to  school safely from where I live.  How can a two-hour delay (in Wilmington, NC) teach a child bad habits.?  It teaches them safety first on the roads and caution when an artic vortex occurs.  Shame on you, Mr. McNair.

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In response to your comments on New Hanover County school closings:   I taught in NC public schools for 18 years in New Hanover, Columbus, Bladen, and Johnston Counties. 

The decision to delay school opening hours was made not just to protect students at cold bus stops.  Many classrooms in NC public schools are inadequately heated and insulated.  Quite a lot of teachers and students meet in trailors, huts, and old buildings.  Some of these places never really warm up when the weather is as cold as it was the last two days. But they feel al little better at 10 am then they do at 8 am.   Other old buildings take forever to get warm and then get overwhelmingly hot so that you must open windows to let the uncontrolled heat out. 

Also, the huge bus system requires extra care on extremely cold days.  There are often break- downs and other unpredictable cold-related problems in the weather conditions we experienced these past two days.

Cape Fear Academy is blessed to have the money to have such a fine facility.  It is a fine school.  I have relatives and friends who attend.  But it's unfair to make the statement you made regarding its decision to open on regular time in comparison to the whole New Hanover County system's decision to delay two hours.

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I agree with your point about 'adapting and commitments' but noting cape fear as 'setting the standard for quality education in this town' seems biased. There are several public schools in our county that also have exceptional standards regardless of whether they had a 2 hour delay this week or not. Stating your opinions about the delay is one thing, but to take a shot at many wonderful schools in our town seems you went too. I would also like to note that cape fear students don't wait outside for buses to arrive with dangerous wind chills. I personally would have been fine without a delay but please don't forget that some children may not have the clothes/coats/gloves etc needed to face severe and unusual temperatures for our region. A little compassion please.

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As a former school bus driver/teacher assistant, I know what it means for students to be waiting for the bus in this weather. Also, what it means for teachers/students to arrive at school to find there's no heat or water because of a problem and told to turn around. The two hour delay gives staff and drivers a chance to make sure that schools and buses are safe and warm for students. Much better to miss a few hours of school than to have some children sit beside the road on a broken down bus or waiting for a bus that late in these artic temps.

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I am a bus driver And apparently you're not When it is cold weather like this and those lines freeze on those buses then you have a bus stranded on the side of the highway with a lot of children freezin

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Gary, couldn't agree with you more.  Some explain it as concern for those kids who don't have coats and have to wait for a bus.  I don't buy it.  These kids already are behind most of the nation when it comes to being educationally prepared for life.  Education is a priority and every hour counts!

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I am not from New Hanover County but I have worked in Education for a  years, as well as driven a bus. My thing is Until YOU have had to been in the shoes of a bus driver carrying some one else's children on it, DON"T PASS JUDGEMENT!!! I have had to drive that bus when it was an early release day, and having to drive slower for the safety of the kids of the black ice, as well as OTHER CRAZY DRIVERS that see a school bus and think OMG I have to get home... The School Systems delay to make sure that not only the buses are ok, that the schools or ok with heat and running water, as well as the safety of the kids. I work with people that grew up on farms and live in nice housing sub-divisions and their kids will more than likely go to private schools, but guess what their pipes froze and they woke up to having no water, I think that you SIR being the GM and VP of WECT sure owe the members of the board an apology for the negative comments that you threw out in regards to their judgment on the decisions that they made. Until you have made those decisions for some one else's children then you have no leg to stand on.. On another note, some of these kids that are in public schools Don't even have a winter coat.. Take a day off of your JOB and go eat lunch with them.. OH but wait you support the Academy.. You don't have a clue as to what some of these kids struggle with that have to go to public schools. I have seen kids that when they eat lunch on Friday they are lucky if they eat one or two times before breakfast on Monday.. So SIR maybe you shouldn't be so fast to pass judgment out on the safety of these board members. Another thing is a few degrees may not be that much warmer but the sun can make a lot of difference in a cold environment.. But I take it that you yourself have never had to struggle for heat or for a meal, well SIR GOD BLESS YOU for it too.. I just hope that for the negativity you have the he will continue it. Because you really need a reality check...

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I do not agree with you at all on this matter .  How many buses does Cape Fear Academy have picking  up children waiting in the

Cold at  6:30 or 7 to be picked up.  All my friends children and now grandchildren who  went to Cape Fear were dropped off by one of their parents.

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I take issue with your "My Turn" commentary on Sat. Jan. 11, 2014.  Your comment about Cape Fear Academy being the only school that opened as scheduled on the well below freezing mornings, was insulting to those of us who have children standing at bus stops and attending schools that are operating with sub par heating systems. Call CFA and ask them how old their oldest building and heating systems are and how many of their students stood at a bus stop those mornings.  I'll bet the majority of their children were carried or drove themselves to school in the latest BMW, Lexus or Mercedes. You should be more considerate of those who aren't able to send their children to the best schools money can buy.

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Cape Fear Academy parents and students do not have worry about waiting for school buses in the cold weather.  Their parents drive their kids to school. 

As far as CFA setting the standard in NH County.  Yes they do for the fortunate few who can afford their tuition costs.  Pretty easy to set the standard when the vast majority of parents are  highly educated and have high socioeconomic status.

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As an elementary school teacher in New Hanover County, I do hope you have received the simple message that many families can adapt to colder weather changes.  However, we have many families in our district that cannot due to their economic state.  We have families that cannot afford a winter coat or an extra hoodie. We have many parents that work early and their children must wait at the bus stop since they don't have the luxury to get a ride to school in a warm automobile like many students at Cape Fear Academy. Please do not be hasty in your comments next time the weather takes a turn.  Imagine being a 6 or 7 year old child walking to the bus stop in the dark with just a hoodie and jeans.  Those extra two hours did take the chill off the bus seats and allowed the sun to shine a little brighter. 

We often send home supplies, jackets, gloves, hats and food to those students in need because our district has many caring staff members.  I'm sure Cape Fear Academy does not have as many students in need, but I'm sure they would support our district's decision after realizing that those 2 hours did make a difference.

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