Weather decisions by DCSD
[Editor’s note: Regarding events on Mon. evening, Feb. 23 and Tuesday, Feb. 2]
Concerned parents that were unhappy with the decisions of the Darlington County School District during weather delays/ early dismissals, voiced their concerns on the school district’s Facebook page on February 23 and 24, and left telephone messages to the district office.
Many of the comments were removed because of profanity, and threatening nature.
In an effort to clear up any questions, Audrey Childers, Public Information Officer for DCSD released the following statement:
“Several people have asked for interviews regarding how we make weather decisions in the Darlington County School District. We will not be able to grant any interviews at this time; however, I’ve attached our statement regarding this particular inclement weather situation. For more information about inclement weather decisions, please visit: www.darlington.k12.sc.us.” with a direct link to the inclement weather page.
The statement follows:
Inclement weather situations are always tricky to manage in a school district. We are charged with ensuring our students receive 180 days of education but it is critical that we ensure their safety in doing so.
We try to make the decisions the night before so parents have time to adjust their plans accordingly. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. Last night [Ed. Note: Monday, Feb. 23] there were conflicting weather predictions, some of which were predicting inclement weather for us, others indicating the bad weather would pass us by. As a result, we waited to make the decision until morning so we could have the most timely and accurate information.
In making these decisions, we have teams of individuals who travel the roads of the county. We also consult with the Darlington County Emergency Operations Center, law enforcement officials, and other counties. We review weather information from multiple sources and we try to make the best decision for the students.
This morning, at 4:30 am, [Ed. note: Tuesday, Feb. 24] the skies were clear and there were no problems. Yet again, some weather reports predicted inclement weather all day, others said we would get a short spell and then it would clear. At 4:30 this morning, we made the decision to delay school two hours in the hopes the bad weather would pass.
It did not, but by 8:00 a.m. we had buses, students and staff on the road.
We decided to try to ride out the inclement weather at school where students would be warm and eat lunch. Unfortunately the weather did not get better and the decision was made to send the students home after lunch. We fed the students and sent them home shortly after they ate.
We understand parents are frustrated. We apologize. We try to make the best decisions possible with the information we have.
There is more inclement weather on the horizon. We will again travel the roads, consult with the experts, and try to reach a decision that ensures the students’ safety while also protecting educational time as much as possible.