Welcome to the new semester, the new calendar year, and the month nearly gone. January…we hardly knew you.
Students returned to school on January 4, 2024, only to be out of school less than a week later due to the forecast of high wind speed and torrential rains, along with the safe operation of school buses.
I’m a crusty old educator (forty-two years in and counting), and I know the whole story my dad used to tell me about “trudging uphill to AND from school in the snow for miles.” I can say (and this is no exaggeration) that we went to school the day before and the day after Hurricane Hugo in September 1989 (Hugo hit the SC coast at night.).
Yet today, in 2024, we are in a different place and time. The SC Department of Education, in conjunction with the Office of Transportation, provides guidance for “High Winds and School Buses;”
Operating Buses - When wind forces of 30 MPH or greater strike the side of a school bus, the forces exerted can exceed 500 pounds. Forces of this magnitude can significantly impact steering control and tracking of school buses in motion. This is true for sustained winds of 30 MPH or greater, or wind gusts greater than 40 MPH.
No one can or should argue with safety since we are most concerned about safety even if, back in the day (insert the time when you were in school here), we may not have followed this or any other guidance.
I recognize nobody likes getting out for wind and rain (Where have all of our snow days gone?); however, the risk and liability of accidents dramatically increase in any form of inclement weather. Cars and buses are better today than when I was in school, but older cars (such as I had in high school) were heavier, even if they were not as safe as we now have.
Other than the two hiccups with the weather (see above and then again that Friday, January 12) things in the district are splendid.
Our middle and high school athletic teams are doing incredibly well (Coaches Gardner and Wright notched their 100th and 250th wins in ladies’ basketball and wrestling, respectively.).
Eastside Elementary School will open the National “Leader in Me” conference in Charlotte, NC TODAY (Wednesday, January 31). The program focuses on the “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” and will showcase their chorus, cheerleaders, and even the opening speakers for the conference.
The CMS and CHS Science Olympiad Team competed at the Penn State Invitational during the second weekend in January and earned several top-ten finishes against stiff competition.
The Laurens County Community Theatre and Clinton High School hosted “The Little Mermaid” in the auditorium on January 26 and 27 and will host February 1 - 3, 2024.
Many things are happening in our little district. Better news to come…I can’t release it yet.
See you in February. Stay safe, dry, and out of the wind…and if you are the sentimental type, think snow.
Dr. David O’Shields is Superintendent of District 56.