Rutherford Co. Schools’ late decision to close flusters students, parents

Local News

The weather caused confusion Wednesday morning as Rutherford County closed schools while children were on the bus on their way to class. Some children were stranded at school and another couldn’t get into his home.  

The last-minute decision angered parents but the school system said there was no way to avoid it. When Sarah Tucker saw Rutherford County hadn’t canceled school, she told her children to get up and get ready. 

“As they were walking out the door the last thing they said was ‘it’s snow!’ And the thought entered my head that they weren’t going to be there long,” said Tucker. 

Rutherford County schools said in a statement that they decided to cancel classes around 7:00 a.m. when heavier than expected snow began to fall, and secondary roads became slick. 

Buses were turned around mid-route. Students who were already at school were brought home by bus, their parents or even some administrators had to take some students home.  

However, some parents had already left for work, leaving children stranded. A 5-year-old from LaVergne Lake Elementary couldn’t get into his home and walked to Sarah Tucker’s home for help. 

“He was excited and just started playing with toys. I asked him if he knew his parents’ names and he said no,” Tucker told News 2. 

Eventually, the school made sure the child was sent home safely. A man who answered the door at the child’s home didn’t want to comment. 

A Rutherford County schools spokesman said in a statement:  

“We understand that some parents are upset by the timing of this morning’s decision to close schools and send students back home. 

We don’t have an exact number on students who had trouble getting into their own homes this morning. If the bus drivers knew that a child couldn’t get into their home, they were asked to bring the child back to school and then the schools worked with those parents to get the students picked up. 

We rely on weather forecasts to help us decide when to close schools for inclement weather, and from 4-6:30 a.m. this morning, those weather forecasts called for nothing more than a possible dusting. It was not until we approached 7 a.m. that we began seeing heavier snowfall in the northern part of our county and we began receiving reports from law enforcement in those areas of slick secondary roads.  

We then made the decision to turn buses around for those who had not been delivered to school yet and started working with parents to get others picked up or bussed back home. We do appreciate our parents and their patience as we worked through the situation this morning and we appreciate all they do. 

Announcements were made directly to the news media, on our social media channels, our website and through a direct phone call /email to parents. The phone system does take up to an hour to complete calls to the parents of 46,000 students, but the emails and social media posts are nearly instantaneous.” 

School will start at normal time tomorrow. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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