Late word on closing school angers Balto. Co. parents

December 11, 1992|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

Those people making sudden U-turns during yesterday' heaviest snowfall may well have been parents of Baltimore County elementary school students.

They were reacting, often furiously, to the school system's own U-turn in deciding, after 8 a.m., to close its 94 elementary schools and leave open its secondary schools. Many elementary schoolchildren were already at school when the word filtered down, and more waited on corners for buses that never came.

Parents who thought their children were nestled snug in their schools suddenly had to put their own snow-emergency plans into effect, calling neighbors and grandparents and taking unscheduled vacation days to care for their youngsters.

The late announcement, dictated by a snowfall that started well after the county's buses began running, brought a blizzard of outraged calls to school offices and area radio stations.

"I've talked to more very, very angry people [this morning] than I ever did before," said school spokesman Richard Bavaria.

It was the first snow decision for the new superintendent of schools, Stuart Berger, and he defended it.

"It could not have snowed at a worse time. When I walked out of my house at 7:30, there wasn't any snow," he said. "If I called off school at 6:30 a.m. and it didn't snow, parents would have been calling us jerks. They're calling us worse. It's a no-win situation."

The county's buses start their mornings by picking up high school students, then middle school students. They finish with elementary schools. It wasn't until the elementary runs were under way that drivers began reporting impassable roads.

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