What Working Parents Want School Administrators to Know About Last Minute School Closures

What Working Parents Want School Administrators to Know About Last Minute School Closures

Look, we get it. You didn’t plan the weather. You have to make a more or less split second decision that’s got to be the overall best for hundreds of people. You have to err on the side of caution, choose the lesser of the evils, etc.

Last week, all the parents in the Greater New Orleans Area got an alert that schools would be closing midday due to inclement weather. And you know, it was pretty rainy and windy … starting at about 10:00 at night. Well after all children would have been at home anyway. Myself and others in my office and social circle made our scrambles, calling grandparents, texting friends, shifting carpools, bending laws – “Sure, you’re old enough to stay at home by yourself, Cameron! Just lock the door and don’t let anyone in. Besides, it will be raining, bad guys don’t go out in the rain!”

Others of my generation lamented the loss of the adolescent joy of wading though puddles with shoes in hand to be picked up by minivan around the corner, or even retrieved by Paw Paw via pirogue. Our children will know no such lawless glee, just the frustrated cursing and furrowed brows of their parents as we endeavor to find someone, anyone willing to help at the last minute.

And here we are again.

Schools canceled tomorrow, less than 24 hours to prepare, and bosses growing quite weary of hearing “My kid’s school is…” And you know what? I don’t blame them. Why are schools the deciders of all business in the city? When interviewing for a job, should I inquire how many sick, PTO and WEATHER days I’m allotted? Not to accommodate me, for the convenience of my kids’ school!

I know what the next thing you are going to say is. “This is for YOUR safety. This is to keep YOU off the roads.” Except that, these kids still have to go somewhere. And, some are very lucky to be able to work from home in situations such as these, but some are not, and some professions, nurse, first responder – would be considered deserting their post if they called in without securing a replacement. So, those parents still have to be on the roads. This is not to remove the danger, this is simply to remove your liability from it.

I was raised by a teacher. None of these issues ever affected my parents because there was always someone to stay home with me and my siblings. So, I won’t go so far as to say that educators and schools don’t care about parents. It simply hasn’t occurred to them that there are some households with two parents who simply cannot give a 12 hour notice that they won’t be coming to work. That’s not even to mention one parent households where options are cut in half.

What is the solution? I don’t know. I know that school wasn’t closed on a dime half this much when I was a child, and here I am, somehow a fully functioning adult. Sign a waiver at the beginning of the year? Have our bosses send in a letter explaining that we need to be at work in order to earn a living? Either way, we’ve got to do better for working parents.


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