Schools Scrutinize Decision Before Dismissing Students Early

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Parents ask it all the time.  Why do schools dismiss early?

WHNT News 19 asked that question for ourselves and we were able to get some answers that could have parents breathing a little easier.

For two days, Lauderdale County Superintendent William Valentine has been watching a storm system develop.

Wednesday morning, his well thought-out plan coming into a National Weather Service briefing, got turned upside down.  The timeline for the storm system got bumped up a couple of hours.

“It takes us roughly an hour and a half, from the time we release students to complete all of our, get all of our students home on buses,” said Valentine.

Valentine says to get everyone mobilized and in place for an early dismissal, it takes the system more than two hours.  However, to get to that point, it’s up to Valentine to make the final decision.

“We do not want students on the road at the potentially dangerous times, if we can help it,” said Valentine.

With recent incidents that have involved tornado damage to schools, the superintendent knows a direct hit could be catastrophic during a school day.

“When you have a large number, if you do have a tragedy, then the potential number of injuries is quite large. So we would rather disperse our students to their homes or other locations were they are with family members or parents,” said Valentine.

As far as inconveniencing parents, Valentine says that it’s up to the school system to keep the students safe, and many times, school is not that place during severe weather.

“This works a hardship on parents, so we don’t do this lightly. But, I will always err on the side of caution, so we will have our students in a safest place as we can,” said Valentine.