AACO apology: 'We made the wrong call'

Thousands went to school in slippery conditions

Anne Arundel County Schools Superintended Mamie J. Perkins apologized Saturday for the decision Friday morning that resulted in thousands of students and school system employees braving dangerous conditions to get to school on time.

In a letter emailed to parents and posted on the school system's website and Facebook and Twitter pages, Perkins promised a thorough examination of the process to identify improvements that can be made.

"We made the wrong call," Mrs. Perkins wrote in the letter. "The ultimate call is our school system's and our school system's alone. It is made by a group of human beings who truly are working hard and doing their level best to make correct decisions. We as a system are not perfect, and we should not be afraid to admit when we err. In this case, we clearly could have done better."

The ice started coming down around 6 a.m. south of the city. The school system decides what to do by 4:45 a.m.  At that point, older students were on the move and younger kids were starting out on an icy path.  Hundreds of parents were hot.

"They were more worried about the rerouting of buses and high school than they were about middle school, elementary," said Ritu Adams, a parent of a second grader at High Point Elementary School.   

A mom with a daughter at Crofton Middle School told ABC2's Cheryl Conner her daughter fell when she was leaving the house.  She has a mild concussion.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools was one of the few school systems in the state to open on time Friday. Most of the other systems delayed the start of classes to allow students and employees additional time to travel to schools and offices.

County Executive Laura Neuman said that she understands the difficulty of making a decision on the opening of schools, but encouraged the school system to find ways to arrive at better outcomes in questionable weather conditions.

"The school system is a great partner in our county and I respect the difficult position they were in Friday morning," County Executive Neuman said. "Our personnel provide input in such situations, but we have no say in the final decision as that belongs to the school system. We all want the same things for our children and parents, and I hope that the review Mrs. Perkins is conducting leads to changes that prevent this from happening again."

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