Letter to the Editor

Winter weather and sporting events

Friday, January 27, 2017

Spencer High School's mission statement is as follows: "All students will develop maximum knowledge and skills to become lifelong learners and responsible citizens."

Pretty straight forward and clear. Just what you'd expect from an institution that wants to be clear about its purpose for existence, namely the education of its students. So when Mother Nature intervenes with fog and icy roads, as it did last week, the decision to close school is made and all can understand the consistent message conveyed. We want our students to be safe, and we don't put them, their parents or bus drivers in harm's way. So why did basketball games get played, in effect, sending a very contradictory message?

I'm told that when the situation mentioned above occurs, if the host school is in agreement, the game can be played. This is per policy of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. Should the maxim "just because you can doesn't mean you should" be in play here? Near as I can tell, Spencer High School athletics prevailed, and common sense took a hit. Even the decision makers at several major Iowa newspapers didn't have their delivery drivers brave the weather to ensure the timely arrival of a news publication. Why is it so crucial that school folks "play on" and ignore the winter weather advisories that were so prevalent? What message are they sending to the students in their charge? I think these are serious matters to consider.

I know, I know, the scheduling of sports/extracurricular events is difficult enough, even in good weather. I don't envy the scheduler's job one bit. Somehow I gotta believe, though, that common sense, the safety factors involved, and a willingness to work out a mutually agreeable alternate date down the road should prevail. The motoring public does a pretty good job staying out of harm's way in these wintry conditions. If they can do it, shouldn't we expect the same of our schools? Seems to me it is a question of priorities.

Bill Kersting, Spencer