Rowan Co. residents question why schools were not on delay

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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SALISBURY, N.C. - Three high school students and a bus driver were not hurt when their school bus ran off an icy road in Rowan County early Friday morning, but the accident had some people questioning the school district's decision to go ahead with classes.

The bus ended up nose-first in a ditch on Sherrill's Ford Road west of Salisbury and had to be lifted out with a tow truck.   

It was one of many accidents the Rowan County Rescue Squad worked after the overnight rainstorm turned icy.

"We started getting calls around 6 o'clock this morning with traffic accidents and have been busy ever since," said Rescue Squad member David Earnhardt.

There was still slush on the roads around West Rowan High School where that bus was headed Friday afternoon, and some parents and students wondered out loud about the decision not to cancel classes.

"Look at the weather.  I fell, I was walking down and I fell.  It's slippery." said Zusana Banegas and Timothy Adkins, students.

"I'm not sure what the superintendent was thinking at all."

On Friday, school district spokeswoman Rita Foil said the decision was not an easy one to make.

"We can't look into a crystal ball and tell what see what's going to happen. We can only look to the professionals out there," said Foil.

She said that the school system had employees out checking road conditions at 5 a.m. and at that point they were not icy.  

Foil said students who were not able to make it to school were not counted as absent, and the schools were working with parents who wanted to pick up their children early.

The icy mix also caused some power problems. Foil said at least five schools reported partial power outages.

Parents told Channel 9 children had to sit in cold classrooms because of outages, but they were never called or notified about the conditions in which their child went to school.

“It's the (21st) century. Everybody has a cellphone now. They could have called,” said mother of four, Amanda Naves.  “Instead, they decided to leave the kids there so they literally failed our children miserably.”

In a statement, Superintendent Lynn Moody explained her decision not to change school hours.