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The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Snow and safety: they don’t mix

It didn’t look awful first thing in the morning. Some light rain on a cold December morning wasn’t anything to panic about. The solution seemed fairly easy: leave a handful of minutes earlier than normal, drive slowly and arrive at the school safely.

But then, like classic New Hampshire weather, things got messy. Fast.

In minutes, the rain changed to snow. It came down heavy, wet and quickly. What was, moments ago, drivable conditions quickly turned into a young driver’s worst nightmare.

It became some of the worst conditions many people have driven in. Traffic was backed up on Mammoth Road for nearly three miles. Cars were sliding on the road, to the point where multiple drivers ended up in ditches or on the side of the road. Busses slid, hit cars, and even tipped at some points in the morning.

So why didn’t they just call a delay? Wouldn’t it have been better to have been wrong and delay over rain, rather than deal with the unsafe conditions?

Across the entire state of N.H., there were over 400 closings or delays. But not a single one in Londonderry or surrounding towns like Derry, Windham and Bedford. It seems typical: high school students begging for snow days and two-hour delays at the first sight of snowfall—but this time it was completely warranted.

It happened so quickly that parking lots and walkways hadn’t been treated. Plowing the parking lots was pretty much futile anyway, and the amount of salt on the walkways couldn’t combat the elements.

But that’s not the worst part: the school district has prepared for having snow days. There are a total of five built-in snow days, which we received as an exchange for getting out of school at 2:14 pm everyday. Why not use one of those built-in days?

When an email from interim superintendent Mr. Black came across in the afternoon, apologizing for the “mess of a commute” that morning, there was a sigh of relief. Everyone here at Londonderry does thank the school board for their honesty and apology—which is half the battle.

The best solution, however, would be to have initiated a delay as quickly as possible then reassess the conditions. This would give the town, custodians, and parents the chance to clear the snow from the roads, sidewalks, and driveways. Then, if the snow still was coming down, they could call a cancellation.  

It wasn’t just students that were facing the worst of the storm, it was teachers and parents as well. Some teachers couldn’t get to their classes on time, let alone get to the high school at all. We also have to think about the bus drivers, who had no choice but to try and brave the winter storm. Being responsible for upwards of 50 plus kids is not an easy feat, and they had to do it in some of the worst possible conditions imaginable. 

And all the parents who had to drive their students in had to suffer as well. We won’t even begin to talk about how worried the parents at home must’ve been—wondering if they’d get a call from their kid that they got in an accident simply trying to get to school.

It’s even more of an issue when you take into consideration who’s coming to the school in the morning. You don’t just have kids coming to the high school from five minutes away. You have kids coming 15 minutes away in both the north and south directions. You have dozens of kids (and teachers) having to hop on the highways to get to LHS. What is normally a half hour drive turned to an hour-and-a-half drive for some students and teachers.

Is getting a full day of school really more important than our safety during the morning commute? We understand that there is no possible way for the school district to predict the weather with 100% accuracy, and that’s not what we’re asking for them to do. 

We ask the district to understand that these are young drivers, who are inexperienced when it comes to the harsh elements. We ask them to understand that sometimes, safety has to come above a school day. We ask them to know that it’s never too late to keep us home.

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About the Contributor
Makenna True
Makenna True, Editor in Chief
Heading into her third year on staff, Makenna is excited to take the reins as Editor in Chief of The Lancer Spirit. In her spare time, Makenna can be found playing competitive travel softball for the NH Prospects organization. She also is a part of NHS, the Green Council, and Senior Gators.

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The student news site of Londonderry High School
Snow and safety: they don’t mix