USD 383 board should make decisions based on facts, not complaints

Taryn Robinson, Opinions Editor

The USD 383 school district experienced its first snow day of the 2020-2021 school year on Jan. 25. the district canceled school because of possible snow and freezing rain in the future forecast, but, ironically, there was not a drop of either to be seen in the entire town.

Another case of indecision happened when our district made the decision to return us to school five days a week. Teachers told students that the district was leaning more towards staying hybrid and possibly considering going fully remote due to the recent spike in cases in Manhattan. They weren’t even thinking about going back full time until emails and complaints from parents came in. 

Many of the parents mean well and are looking out for their kid(s); they want what’s best for them. While going back to school five days a week was what was best for students’ education, it wasn’t the best choice regarding safety measures. Making this decision to placate the parents making the most complaints is similar to last week’s snow day decision.

Last weekend, the whole town was talking about the possibility of the first snowfall of the winter season in Manhattan. That Sunday evening, students were constantly checking Twitter, the USD 383 website and The Weather Channel to see if the school day was canceled. 

As what seemed to be an atrocious front headed towards Manhattan, many schools around Kansas canceled school before the evening news ended, but, still, there was no message from USD 383. Some students stayed up all night, refreshing websites to see if school had been canceled. Sadly for them, they would’ve stayed up until 4 A.M. to get the message from the district.

This is a very inconvenient time for teachers, students and parents to receive a notification about the cancelation of school. The lessons teachers had planned were delayed, parents had to scramble to find a place to send their kids for the day and some students were already up and getting ready for school before they found out about the cancelation. 

We, The Mentor Editorial Board to conclude that the district needs to be more communicative when it comes to notifying students, teachers and families of cancellation due to potentially harmful weather.

Within the next 48 hours of the snow day in Manhattan, the actual snow front hit. On Jan. 26, Manhattan received multiple inches of snow, along with several sheets of ice around the whole town. Many students and faculty struggled to leave their driveways, let alone to school.

The USD 383 district canceled school when there was no snow in sight. While Manhattan was dry, while the surrounding school districts that canceled for the day ended up covered in six to eight inches of snow. The district’s hesitation in making and sticking to decisions impacting our attendance and other issues seems to be the result of one thing: multiple complaints from parents across the district. 

Rather than listening to parents’ complaints and giving them what they want, the district should cancel school based on facts they can gather from various weather channels and apps. The district should have canceled school on Tuesday instead of Monday, as it would’ve made more sense and would’ve been safer.