Statement from Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Atlanta Public Schools (1/30/14)
“We have come through a difficult time, and we have all had to face some monumental challenges. I do not want to underestimate or underappreciate both the shock and trauma of students, parents and employees who had to endure the storm while riding on buses, driving or sheltering in place. As a district, we did not deliver students in the timeframe that we wanted, but we applaud our bus drivers for delivering our children home safely at a time when people died, people were injured and thousands of accidents took place. I certainly want to apologize to the students, and their families, who were stranded overnight on buses. I also want to apologize for the challenges and difficulties that our students, families and employees have faced over the past few days. Ultimately, we are accountable for the decisions that we as leaders make. If we had to repeat this scenario, we would do things differently. During the last 48-hours, our operations, curriculum and communications teams have remained at the central office and worked in tandem throughout this crisis. As we review our crisis management protocols and procedures, we will involve the feedback of students, parents and our employees to improve our emergency preparedness.
I have profound gratitude for our school-based employees who stayed overnight to provide care and a safe haven for our students during the storm. I also have the utmost respect and appreciation for our bus drivers who braved the adverse road conditions, and the entire transportation department, for working through the night to reunite our students with their families. My sense is that they as well as employees who had difficulty getting home after dismissal will need a bit more time to recover. We also need to replenish and to restore our facilities prior to resuming normal operations. For these reasons, we have decided to close our schools and administrative offices on Friday, January 31, 2014.”