Kids know days off must be made up Children 'getting mad' at snow -- they prefer school

March 03, 1994|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writers Sherry Joe and Dennis O'Brien contributed to this article.

Even for students, the prospect of another day free from school has lost, well, that old magic.

"I'm getting mad," said 12-year-old Christine Hayden, as she killed another day off yesterday eating pizza at the Towson Town Center shopping mall with school chum Ben Tisdale.

"It's nice to have off, but it's like, hey, enough is enough."

Like many students, she and Ben are in a dither about another day off.

For starters there's the flagging interest, concentration and momentum in classwork and in social projects, from which they often find satisfaction.

"It seems like lately every time we get back into school and we get learning something, there's another snow day or two and next you forget what you just learned. All this getting off [school] has made it hard to concentrate on my work," said Christine, a seventh-grader in the Gifted and Talented Program at Dumbarton Middle School near Towson.

Others, like members of the Fitzgibbons family of Severna Park, are becoming agitated about youngsters having to stay home in the company of brothers, sisters and mothers, or suffering daytime television. To take flight from another day of cabin fever, Megan Fitzgibbons, 12, trekked with her mother, Joyce, from Severna Park to Towson to have lunch with her sister, Heather, a Towson State student.

At the Loisel household in Scaggsville, Laurie Loisel has her four children, ages 9 to 14, cracking on household chores.

"The kids would rather go to school," said Mrs. Loisel. "They're cleaning rooms and helping me organize the house."

One thought seems to be universally shared by area students -- they are very annoyed at the idea of ruined plans for spring and summer vacations.

Their schoolwork may be off track, but many seem to shudder at this simple equation now in effect:

Snow days = makeup days.

"Most of the kids at school are really mad about what's going to happen to their vacations and plans for summer," said Lily Lee, 15, a sophomore at Dulaney High School in Cockeysville.

"Everything -- the whole school year, vacations ---- seems like it's in chaos," said Beth Mugno, 15, another sophomore at Dulaney High. "A lot of people I know have already made plans for trips. I don't think attendance will be anything like they expect."

The two students say many at their school are angry that they will have to change their plans for vacations and travel during spring break, in early April, and summer break, which was to have started June 14.

As it stands now, Baltimore area schools plan to trim the spring break back and lengthen the school year. The number of days added to the school year varies depending on the jurisdiction.

For example, the Baltimore County school board has canceled the four days of spring break scheduled in early April and added two school days in June.

The school year now will end Tuesday, June 21, instead of Friday, June 17.

Of course, school boards throughout the state must now decide how yesterday's snow day will be made up.

And this may not be the end

Should winter go out like a lion, it could mean that the school year would have to be extended even further.

That possibility has Ben Tisdale, the Dumbarton Elementary School student, feeling a sense of doom.

"It's like in science, we're going to have a test. But you find yourself not studying as hard as maybe you would have because in the back of your mind you're thinking you might nat have school that day anyway, if it snows," Ben said. "You forget a lot of what's being taught. It gets you thinking 'What's the point of going to school?' "

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