FEATURE: Icy Injuries

The district decided not to cancel school Feb. 16, resulting in car accidents and injuries


Eli Roust

Following an intense storm, Free State is covered in a blanket of snow. Although roads were slick, school continued and students and staff carefully made their way through the snow and ice.

Greyson Heiman

On the way to school Thursday Feb. 16, senior Jada Fowler lost control of her car due to ice and slid off the road up onto a curb. Immediately after, Fowler called her mother sobbing because she was terrified she would get into an accident.

The USD 497 school district made the decision to keep schools open, despite the icy roads and dangerous conditions. This decision resulted in several accidents with people losing control of their vehicles and spinning off of the road. 

“I was very upset with how the district handled the situation,” Fowler said.  “I was crying and having anxiety after sliding because I thought I would get in an accident.”

Many concerned parents decided on keeping their children home instead of having them drive through the dangerous conditions. According to Principal Amy McAnarney, school wide attendance dropped significantly with the average attendance across all grades being 89.5% for the semester, but on Feb. 16, attendance was down by 8.5% with only 79% of all students present, and in total 361 students absent. 

After the dangerous conditions, McAnarney said that she felt the district made a mistake by keeping schools open.

“This was the first time that I remember thinking ‘Wow, we probably should have closed [schools],’” McAnarney said.

Although McAnarney felt that the district made the wrong decision, she said that in past years, the district’s inclement weather team has done a fantastic job knowing when to close schools, and this seems likely to be a one time mistake.

There is a multitude of students who share the same opinion, that is the district had disregarded their safety and wellbeing by keeping schools open Feb. 16. According to an instagram poll from @fsjournalism, 96% of students said they had trouble driving to school, and only 4% said that they didn’t have any problems driving to school.

A shared opinion among students and staff is that they would rather make up extra days at the end of the year, instead of getting sent to the hospital with an injury.