Parents Concerned After Students Left Outside In Freezing Temperatures
OKLAHOMA CITY - Cold weather is always a concern for parents of school children. This week a parent told News 9 her daughter's bus arrived to school too early, so she and other students had to wait in the freezing temperatures until school opened.
Unbearably cold temperatures had a parent concerned for her daughter's safety as she waiting to get inside Ulysses S. Grant High School.
"It was just so cold," said mother, Ruth Ann Rickey. "On Monday, my daughter had initially told me how cold it was and that they had to stand outside, and I'm surprised that they didn't let them in the cafeteria or in the gym."
Rickey says her daughter's school bus picks her up around 6:30 a.m., and if the bus drops her off to school too early, her daughter, who is special-needs, has been left in the cold until the school doors opened at 7 a.m.
"It's very frustrating to know that there's nothing that we can do," Rickey said.
But the school district says the policy is that students are to remain on the bus until school opens.
"It's rare that we have a bus that arrives early, but in the instance that is does, the bus drivers know the policies and procedures and they follow them. And when they don't, it's brought to their attention and we make changes," said Tierney Tinnin, spokesperson for Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Tinnin says although some staff members are at the school as early as 6 a.m., they don't have the manpower to start taking in loads of students in advance.
“Our teachers have kids and families, so they show up to work on time and put in long hours. So we want our parents to work with us on that instance,” Tinnin said. "If there's a staff member that's there and there's a student waiting outside, we care about our kids, we're going to let them in 100 percent."
Rickey says she likes her daughter's school, but due its large size and the cold weather, she doesn't want her to get stuck in the cold.
"I don't want a generation of per se “sissies”, you know, where they can't even go to school because it's too cold, but I mean, really, these are dangerously cold temperatures that we're dealing with," Rickey said.
The district advises any parent with concerns to contact the transportation office.