(Originally appeared in the February 2000 issue of the Liberty High School Sentinel newspaper.)
You know what? We live in Virginia. Not just in Virginia, but in the mountains. Snow is a reality; it is a 100 percent normal part of our environment. Yet, for some odd reason, we still remain totally unprepared for it.
Maybe we’ve been spoiled by the past few El Niño funk winters, and maybe schools are just afraid of being sued by parents with way too much time and money on their hands, but I can remember my elementary days (in Northern Virginia) where we went to school in the snow. Imagine that! Can’t you just see the image in your minds? Imagine a bunch of kids traipsing through the white landscape in their boots and heavy coats to get to the bus stop so they can get to school. It happened; it was commonplace.
Now, certainly, if we got more than three or four inches in my childhood school system they would cancel classes. But they wouldn’t close down for these puny storms we’ve been getting lately, and especially not for weeks-on-end like we have.
Believe it or not, you can drive on snow. If not, I’m sure you could handle walking to a bus stop in it. We aren’t helpless creatures incapable of finding ways to get places when conditions aren’t perfect. So come on everybody, let’s not cancel school just because your poor Geo can’t get out of the driveway. Don’t whine about little ice spots on your road. Don’t complain that things aren’t perfect because news-flash people, life ain’t perfect.
I am a fan of both snow and missing school. My problem is, however, that we’ve been overdoing it. People just need to use a bit of common sense when it comes to snow days. If the county is actually immobilized by weather, then that is when school should be cancelled. But if I can drive from Bedford to Altavista with no problem (which I did on several of our snow days this year), then we should probably be in school. It’s just a logic thing. Think things through.
But in our modern, lawsuit-happy world where it seems like the people running our governments and schools would much rather do just about anything other than thinking things through or making a modicum of sense, I don’t think it’s all too likely that anything is going to change soon—but no matter what the TV people say, it isn’t a blizzard until we get a foot.