Atlanta public school superintendent, Errol Davis, issued an apology in the wake of a snowstorm that crippled the Atlanta Metro area leaving thousands of students trapped at schools and stranded on school buses. “I certainly want to apologize to the students, and their families, who were stranded overnight on buses,” Davis said in a statement. “I also want to apologize for the challenges and difficulties that our students, families and employees have faced over the past few days,” he added.
The city has been the focus of national criticism, as many have questioned why school was not cancelled on Tuesday. Atlanta Mayor, Kasim Reed, has taken much of the blame for what many have said was a lack of preparation by city, county, and state officials. But Reed noted that he had no control over the schools or the interstates.
While Superintendent Davis did not take direct responsibility for the students being stranded, he acknowledged that he and others “are accountable for the decisions that we as leaders make.” Davis also commended the work of the school district’s bus drivers, teachers, and other employees. “As a district, we did not deliver students in the timeframe that we wanted, but we applaud our bus drivers for delivering our children home safely at a time when people died, people were injured and thousands of accidents took place, Davis said. He also added that he had “profound gratitude for our school-based employees who stayed overnight to provide care and a safe haven for our students during the storm.”
Road conditions prevented many buses from being able to take students home and kept many parents being able to pick up their children. As a result, many teachers and other employees were forced to stay overnight at schools and provide meals for the stranded students. Many of the buses that did pick-up students became stuck on icy roads forcing drivers and students to sleep on the buses until the roads were cleared. The situation left thousands of students and school employees stranded for more than 24 hours in schools and on buses.
Davis announced that schools would remain closed to allow time for employees to recover and “to replenish and to restore our facilities prior to resuming normal operations.”
Atlanta schools will reopen on Monday February 3, 2014.