New Castle News

May 10, 2013

Emergency school calls show lack of foresight

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

On April 30, we had the horrible experience of being alerted by phone that our daughter, a student at George Washington, was one of 700 students relocated to tennis courts because of a gas line break and could be picked up there.

We then received a second call 20 minutes later stating the wrong address of the courts were given. It was advised that the students would be transferred to the high school at 12:30 p.m. The phone rang yet again, this time stating so many parents were picking up children that they were postponing transferring the students to the high school until 1:15.

I will acknowledge transferring that many students quickly is a feat, but something that should have been better planned. The worst thing though was having the students sitting out in the sun, no shelter, no water for two hours. Another major concern pointed out by my daughter: They had no access to restrooms during this time.

As a student, my daughter was not informed until part-way to the park what was going on. The kids were concerned, uninformed and some scared. They did not know if it was a bomb or drill.

If the kids were walked seven blocks to sit in the sun, then why not walk them another few blocks to either John F. Kennedy school or the high school? Why not call and get the buses there ASAP to move them? As a parent, this was a scary event made worse by a number of misinforming calls.

The last call that day came after 10 p.m. to inform us school was canceled for Wednesday. It seems late to decide this as parents need to make arrangements.

The updates are good, but the lack of information is not.

Stephanie Jones

East Lincoln Avenue

New Castle