School systems reviewing response to Tuesday's snow storm - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

School systems reviewing response to Tuesday's snow storm

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Early dismissal from local schools caused chaos Tuesday as parents trying to pick up their children became stranded in gridlock traffic. With buses out of service and children stuck at school for hours, many parents want to know why students were not dismissed earlier.

"If I had known, if we'd had a little bit better information, would I have made a different decision? Probably so," says Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith.

Smith says the school system normally gets a two to three day warning from the National Weather Service about bad winter weather.

"We didn't get that. We didn't get any communication from the National Weather Service folks at all until 9:05 yesterday."

At the time, he decided it would be safer for students to be at home. But the snow had already started falling. Some students were stuck at school, others on buses. The last of all 43,000 students in the county made it home by 7:30 p.m.

"I'm sure there are people out there that are furious, that are angry about this. And I don't blame them for that," says Smith.

"I think the school board should have wisened up a little quicker," says Jason Millsap.

Jason Millsap says he had to walk through the snow and ice to get his six-year-old granddaughter off the bus.

"We had to be put on the bus and the ice was too dangerous," says his granddaughter, Jenea.

"We finally got her home about 2 o'clock," says Millsap.

"We made some decisions yesterday that people were unhappy about when we said, 'we're not going to take a bus into an unsafe area.' And parents were angry about that."

Smith says student safety is top priority.

"After we get back to normal, after we get school back in session, we'll take a look at things and see if we can't improve," says Smith.

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