Wednesday, February 2, 2011

School Today...Really? Oh Yes, REALLY!

Many parents and staff have written in to us to share their displeasure, concern, and overall disappointment with the officials at MVRCS who are responsible for making the decision of whether we should have a snow day or not. After deciding  yesterday to 'allow' parents to retrieve their children early without penalty and with the prediction of today being equally bad (if not worse), we must say that it was quite surprising that classes at MVRCS were not canceled today. Not only were all sending districts canceled but the Governor of Massachusetts had instructed all non-essential state employees to not report for work in the interest of safety and enable quicker cleanup of the storm yet MVRCS felt that a day of education was warranted and of more importance than the efforts of government officials and offices. Granted, we have heard repeatedly that the idea of adding the day to the end of the school year was not ideal, but the safety of not only our children but of the staff members surely outweighed the inconvenience. We're not sure which individual or individuals are responsible for the decision but one has to question whether it was based on pride (MVRCS NEVER CANCELS), ignorance, or little regard for those students who do not live within walking distance of the school. In either case, the decision (we feel) put the safety of our children at risk.
The issue of the staff being required to report to school is also worth mentioning. Just as we value our children we value the safety of the staff and teachers of the school. Not only did they require teachers to be there (otherwise they were not paid for the day and could not use their time off) but they took note of teachers and staff that arrived late. It is unfortunate enough that they were required to be there but special consideration and leniency should have been extended. The teachers and staff should have been commended and their efforts appreciated at their making it into work (after many probably had to dig themselves out and/or were subjected to a tedious commute). It is no wonder that the turnover rate is so high at MVRCS.
We should clarify that before writing this posting we did venture out to experience the roads first hand. We were fortunate to have a vehicle with front wheel drive and still found the driving conditions challenging. It should be noted that we have also heard of bob-cats overturning and that even trains and trolleys are experiencing difficulties as a result of the snow and/or icy conditions. We can only imagine what the conditions will be like at the end of the school day and for the school buses. Let us all hope that neither the students nor staff members are the victims of any casualties.
As it turned out we understand that the majority of parents either kept their children home or had them released early. We have heard that the person(s) responsible for making the decision regarding snow days believes that parents do not want school to be canceled (for whatever reason). While no one wants to be at the school later in the school year than necessary, one would imagine that we hold the safety of our children above the inconvenience of adding a day to the end of the year. Our staff and teachers should not be held with such little disregard that they are made to feel as though they are there to 'babysit' our children; they are there to educate them and one has to wonder how much educating occurred today. We suggest that parents who took issue with school NOT being canceled today make sure to voice your concerns with not only Dr. McCleary but also with Neil Kinnon and the Board of Trustees to ensure that they understand the priority we place on the safety of our children.


  1. I drove to and from work today without a problem. The roads were perfectly safe as long as you weren't in a rush. In fact, the roads were rather bare with all of the other work and school closings. Congratulations to MVRCS for maintaining high standards and taking education seriously.

  2. By the way, what is the repercussion of keeping your child home today? I am sure none.

    If you think it is too dangerous, keep your kid at home. No big deal.

  3. Jeff -
    'Taking education seriously'....seriously? Yes, education is important but isn't above the safety and well-being of our children. Yes, many parents did keep their kids home but what about the teachers who had to report to work? Do we not care about their safety as well? As for the repercussions of keeping kids home, it was an absence, which for many may not be a big issue. The problem arises when if a child should get sick and/or have other legitimate reasons for being out of school and find themselves exceeding the 20 day limit. But let's not forget that that too is all about who you know not about ability.

  4. I sent my children in on Wednesday. I watched the weather forcasts and traffic reports carefully that morning and knew that the roads would be fine. The governor's request for non-essential state workers to stay home came the night before when the forcast was still predicting more snow than we got. I traveled into work myself, with a front wheel drive only car, and had absolutely no problem getting in and out. If I had at all thought that it was too dangerous, I would have kept them home. I told my manager the same when I left work the afternoon before to dismiss them early because of the storm. I, in no way, think the teachers are there to baby sit my children. However, I do want my children to learn responsibility and commitment. If you can safely make it to something that you are supposed to be doing, like school and work, then you should do it. Of course, everyone has and is entitled to a different view of what "safely" is. Mine was that it was perfectly safe for them to attend school yesterday.

  5. To Anonymous @ February 3, 2:59PM
    Not to doubt or question you and your wisdom but the news we were hearing were still concerned about the weather even after realizing that it wasn't going to be all snow. The concern then focused on on dangerous the sleet and/or freezing rain could be (not just roads but falling trees and power lines, etc). So how you in your ultimate wisdom KNEW that the roads would be fine is beyond us. Also, with so many other school district superintendents feeling the need to cancel, it amazes us that you feel that they too did not have as clear of a picture as you did as to what the driving/safety conditions were going to be. Also, let's not forget that the more cars that were out, the more opportunity for accidents hence the reason most opted to cancel schools and close businesses. Yes, many parents decided to send their children in for their own reasons but we feel the safety of not only the children but the staff as well should be first and foremost.

  6. Don't forget how much harder it was for the plow trucks to do their jobs and work towards safety with additional, unnecessary cars on the road.

  7. Per Joan Landers, Wakefield Public Schools Superintendent:
    The decision to close school in case of bad weather is not made in isolation. I am in contact with surrounding Superintendents, consulting most often as early as 4:30 a.m. Sometimes the decision to close school is made the night before a coming storm; at other times it seems more prudent to wait until the early morning hours before making the decision. I consult with Peter Evangelista, Supervisor of Custodial Services, who is in constant contact with the Department of Public Works to check the road conditions, sidewalks, and school grounds to determine whether we will be safely cleared in time for arrival and dismissal of students.
    The education and safety of students is our top priority.

  8. There are a couple of things we need to get straight here. No one wants to here about how easy it was to get the kids to school...this site is for bitching only. The other thing is Jeff and anonymous at 2:59 don't even fit the profile of people that post here. There are only malcontents from Malden with no children in the school that post here. The nerve of some people commenting on their own experiences! What is the world coming to?

    BTW...who cares what Joan Landers has to say?

  9. Three inches of snow on the ground.MV custodial staff and contractors did great job place was clean as a whistle. I had to work and so did my wife. Most people I know did. My kids were better off in school and safer and lots others were too. We have gone to school on way worse days. Snow ended before school and then it rained. Thanks MV for staying open and thanks to dedicated staff who works like the rest of us.

  10. Andrew25 -
    You are so funny! The Joan Landers comment was to show what other area Superintendents take into consideration when they cancel school to show that thought does go into it and extends beyond the island of MVRCS. Also, that they place the safety of their students as top priority.

    Anonymous @ Feb 3 10:14PM
    We agree the custodial staff and contractors have done a great job on MVRCS grounds. The problem is that Malden and the other sending communities needed to do the same and needed time to do so without cars and people to slow them down. The roads around MV are deplorable and a nightmare to maneuver as is the parking issue around there. Yet another safety issue.
    We're happy MV was there for you and your children while you worked. I'm sure the 'dedicated staff' enjoyed putting their own safety at risk to watch your kids so you could report to work. Be sure to thank them and maybe ask them how safe they felt traveling into work that day.

  11. Why can't a person post a well thought out, non-complaining, non-aggressive opinion without the creator(s)of this blog answering back in a condescending, argumentative fashion?

    Malden's (and the other towns around it) deplorable road conditions have little to do with the fact that some MVRCS parents sent their children to school on Wednesday morning. If MVRCS had been closed, the roads would still be as bad. It has more to do with the fact that no one south of 128 has any idea how to do snow removal correctly and usually start it too late. Add in the fact that some of the contractors rip the cities off while they are on duty by hiding, sleeping and drinking coffee while they are supposed to be cleaning the streets and you have a clearer picture of why you can't get around your town.

    My father would have never said "I am not going to work today; the roads are too bad." I can count on one hand the number of snow days I had in high school and I grew up in a place that gets a whole lot more snow than the Boston area. We are raising a generation of kids who are not going to be able to do anything for themselves because they are going to always look for something to be done for them or for the easy way out of things because that is what we are teaching them. Time to toughen up, folks.

  12. I guess it always comes back to this, if you don't like the school, don't send your children! This is what we have to complain about? How about world hunger, global warming.

    If you are so concerned about your child's safety keep them home. Take the absence. Perhaps you allow your child to take off more days than necessary if you are so concerned about the 20 day limit. 20 days is 4 weeks! That is a lot of days!!!

  13. Hey unofficial: You must have had work to since you can comment on how bad it was that day and time around the school. Must have been in your car driving so guess it wasn't that bad. Only reason other schools had off was aren't organized enough to get schools cleaned up on time and panicked the day before and called school becausse of impending twelve more inches supposedly coming.

  14. Issue isn't number of absences or other schools not being "organized enough to get schools cleaned up on time and panicked the day before...". Issue is safety of children and the conditions of ALL ROADS leading to MVRCS. MVRCS is a regional school and services students from outside of the immediate area (unlike district schools) and as such, majority of students must travel in a car or bus to get to school. Roads were not in great condition in AM and with the snow changing over to sleet or freezing rain, the conditions for the afternoon were not known. Ice and/or black ice can be more dangerous than snow accumulation.
    Yes, some parents felt comfortable sending in their children and we do not begrudge them. Our point is more to the issue of safety for both students and staff.