P-CCS Students Attend School Despite Icy Conditions

Hannah Saad, Editor-in-Chief

 

As it got closer to 7:10 a.m. on Jan. 17, the chances of getting the day off school due to road conditions got slimmer and slimmer. Students hoping to see P-CCS pop up on the list of school districts were disappointed when surrounding districts such as Northville Public Schools, Livonia Public Schools and Novi Community School District closed for the day, but P-CEP students still had to be at school at 7:10 a.m. sharp.

Conditions proved to be hazardous; students at P-CEP reported slipping on the ice on the paths between schools, and multiple buses were delayed or never showed up to their bus stops.

Bus 13, en route to P-CEP, got stuck on a dirt road between Beck Road and Ridge Road. The students were stuck on the bus for about two hours. A tow truck came out, but it did not attempt to tow the bus because the bus was at risk of tipping over with the students still inside, according to Perspective staff member Noor Khalil, who was on the bus. A bus coming along the same road also got stuck, said Khalil. Students did not arrive at P-CEP until after 8:30 a.m.

Transportation continued to be an issue throughout the school day. At 2:00 p.m., students on three separate buses at P-CEP were told to report to the Salem cafeteria so they could arrange alternate transportation.

Endrit Bekurti, Salem senior, said he saw a girl on crutches almost slip while walking between buildings at P-CEP. “How pathetic and selfish of pceps [sic] administration to not delay or cancel school today,” said Bekurti.

Kelsey Taylor, Plymouth senior, was walking into the North Tower entrance at Salem by the drop off loop when she slipped on ice on the sidewalk. “The entire sidewalk was coated in ice, which is extremely hard to maneuver when you’re physically handicapped like me,” said Taylor. Because of her handicap, Taylor normally rides a motorized scooter provided by Salem High School when traveling in between buildings, but she left her keys at home. Taylor said a security officer drove her to Plymouth to see the nurse so she wouldn’t have to walk. When it was determined that Taylor’s injury wasn’t serious, she was given an ice pack and was told to take Tylenol when she got home and was sent back to class.

In a press release, P-CCS superintendent Monica Merritt explained the district’s decision to keep schools open.

“Our staff began treating school grounds, including parking lots, bus loops, and walkways early this morning. Local temperatures were above freezing and meteorologists predicted warmer weather as the day progressed. However, weather conditions began changing this morning after high school busses [sic] and staff were already en route, which resulted in unanticipated icy conditions both in some residential areas and on some school grounds,” said Merritt.

Taylor said she heard that one of the reasons students attended school that day was because the grounds were thoroughly treated. “I found that this wasn’t the case early in the day, which is one of the only times of the day when almost all students are outside at the same time,” said Taylor.

Taylor generally feels the Park cares about student safety, given the amount of security the Park staffs, but also notes that the district “throws us into hazardous conditions even though we walk between hours all the time.”

“Yes, it was resolved by the end of the day, but if I don’t feel safe enough to even walk anywhere even for part of the day, should we be in school?” said Taylor. “I get that school is important, but I’d rather come into school for a few days in the summer than fear something so basic as walking.”

Merritt responded to those who suggested having delayed school start times, as opposed to canceling school all out. She said, “This could be a viable option for uncertain weather conditions as experienced today. We will continue to review our processes and procedures for a late-start decision for future situations.”

A robocall was placed after high school students started classes, but before middle and elementary schools started. The message stated that buses were running late and would attempt to reach every bus stop they could. It also reminded parents that they were welcome to drive their children to school instead of waiting for the bus, or that parents could excuse their students for the day if they chose to do so.