Metro defends decision not to cancel school


Six Middle Tennessee school districts closed Wednesday due to either the flu or cold weather, but Metro Schools remained open despite several complaints.

One student tweeted a picture of a classroom thermometer to the director of schools, saying, "So can we go home before we freeze to our seats?"

"Students and staff safety is really our paramount concern," said Ken Stark, the executive director of operations at Metro Schools.

Stark said starting last week maintenance crews began working around the clock.

"To make sure the heating systems were up and ready and buildings would be as warm and as comfortable as they can be," Stark said.

With 70 percent of the district's families being economically challenged, Stark said it's often safer for students to be at school instead of at home.

"There are a lot of families where daycare is a struggle. We have needy families where meals can be a struggle," he said.

While some parents disagree with Metro's decision to have classes despite the cold, others are feeling very thankful.

"If the classrooms are not (functional) the children truly will not listen," said parent and former teacher Caroline Powers.

"Really, we got to keep learning and we've got to go to school. Parents have to work, and I think it's great they're keeping schools open," Amy Huffman said.

Metro has a help line where parents and students can call and report weather-related issues like a late school bus or a cold classroom. The number is 615-259-4636.

Metro Schools announced late Wednesday that schools would open two hours late on Thursday. School officials said the reason they decided to delay Thursday's start was because the wind chill could be below zero before 9 a.m.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



Carley Gordon joined the News4 team as a reporter in 2009.

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