Slick parking lots, sidewalks a big factor in school closings - Dallas News |

Slick parking lots, sidewalks a big factor in school closings

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A lot goes into school district's decision whether to open or close on days when there's bad weather, and the reasons and policy differ from district to district.

No two school districts come to a decision the same way when it comes to weather policies.

Garland Independent School District closed all 71 campuses Friday, which included Rowlett High School.

Not a soul could be found at Rowlett, where a barren landscape of ice made it hard to walk and drive.

The parking lot was empty, save for a few abandoned vehicles peppering the frozen tundra.

The roads to the school were pretty clear by Friday afternoon, but the district said the parking lots were covered with ice, and they didn't want students slipping, sliding and getting hurt.

District personnel began driving around 3 or 4 a.m. Friday to determine the degree of iciness on roads and on campuses.

Friday, Damon Moore and his 16-year-old daughter Kristin determined it was time to get her car from Garland High School's parking lot after abandoning it Thursday, when the storm was at its worst.

They agreed with the district's decision to close schools.

"I didn't want her to drive home…she's never driven in ice before," said Moore.

If a district decides to stay open on a bad weather day, it isn't liable if a child falls and is hurt slipping on the ice, for example.

In fact, there are only two instances where a school district is liable for anything -- accidents involving district vehicles and corporal punishment.

All students who did stay home will have to make up the snow day sometime in June.

If there is another winter blast, a district could ask for a waiver, but that's a special circumstances usually reserved for difficult winters.

Mesquite ISD was also closed Friday, and as a result, some middle schoolers at R.S. Kimbrough Middle School felt like they were robbed of a shot at a basketball title.

The school's female basketball team's tournament game was canceled and won't be rescheduled.

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