Halifax school board's early dismissal alerts came too late, parents say
'We’ve included that as a service we provide, fair enough on us, no good deed goes unpunished'
Some parents are furious with the Halifax Regional School Board after they received text and email messages about schools closing early due to Monday's snowstorm less than 30 minutes before students were to be let out.
Parents said the messages didn't give them enough time to pick up their children and they expressed their frustration on Twitter.
<a href="https://twitter.com/HRSB_Official">@HRSB_Official</a> LOL! <a href="https://t.co/wLcQ5aNWk0">pic.twitter.com/wLcQ5aNWk0</a>—@francach
The school board disagrees and says it did give parents enough time to prepare.
Spokesman Doug Hadley says the school board put the cancellations up on its website, tweeted them, communicated it to local media, and recorded a voice message on its phone line all before 11 a.m.
After that was done it sent out text messages and email notifications. The school board's policy does not require it to send out text and email messages, which means it is the last form of notification, said Hadley.
<a href="https://twitter.com/berryjen">@berryjen</a> Agree - no text received (yet!), and email came in at 11:07 announcing 11:30 closure.—@larakillian
"Text notification has become such a prevalent way of communicating with people we've included that as a service we provide — fair enough on us, no good deed goes unpunished," he said.
"In an ideal world we would have given a lot more notification. These things do take time to get that much information out to that many people."
Every child at school will remain supervised until parents arrive to get them, said Hadley.
He said he's sorry the text and email messages didn't get out faster, and there are limits to how quickly the board can get the word out.
<a href="https://twitter.com/HRSB_Official">@HRSB_Official</a> yes we need more than 30 minutes notice to get from the office to school.—@TinaRyan36
<a href="https://twitter.com/HRSB_Official">@HRSB_Official</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNS">@CBCNS</a> make the kids go to school for 2 hours and risk lives for what. Nice call HRSB😡—@lil_ms_shorty_
The school board sent out more than 100,000 emails to make parents aware of the school closures, but sending that many messages creates problems, said Hadley. Many servers see the mass emails as spam and put a hold on, delaying them.
There are no plans to change the current policy to give text messages or emails a higher priority.