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Students Stranded at School, On Roads in Cartersville, Bartow County

Should school administrators have made the call to close schools earlier than 11 a.m., about an hour after snow started falling.

Photo: Loretta Jewel
Photo: Loretta Jewel
Students of City of Cartersville and Bartow County schools are stuck at school or on the roads due to treacherous road conditions.

Cartersville Patch has received reports of students walking from Cass High School and others who need to get home from the school at 1000 Colonel Way in White.

"I guess my grandson will have to spend the night at school this just plain SUX, I can't risk getting stranded with my paralysis since I can't walk, I'm not able to roll a non electric wheelchair on the streets to get help, they closed the schools for cold weather but now we have these dangerous road conditions and the school bus that picked up my grandson refuse to bring my grandson home.SMH I wonder how many automobile accidents this very wrong reality will cause....," Susan Martin commented on Cartersville Patch's Facebook page. "My grandson is at Cass High School & desperately needs a ride home please..."

Loretta Jewel captured a photo of what she said were students walking home from Cass High.

"Enough where the kids are walking home from Cass High!! Somebody dropped the ball on this!!!" she commented.

Bartow County Schools administrators indicate some students may be at school for the long haul, as middle and high school buses were not able to run due to poor road conditions, according to Cass Middle's Facebook page. "Students will need to be picked up," it said.

"Administrators will remain at the schools with students who are unable to reach home," a status update on the system's Facebook page reads. "Preparations are being made for snacks and evening meals if it becomes necessary for students to remain at school. Every effort is being made to keep our students safe."

Police scanner traffic has indicated school buses were stranded on Euharlee Road and Cartersville Police were assisting city the city school system in transporting students.

Adairsville Police Department officers "will be shuttling stranded Adairsville High and Middle school students home using the department's hummer," according to APD's Facebook page.

The Georgia State Patrol, Bartow County Sheriff's Office and Cartersville Police Department have and continue to work hundreds of traffic accidents due to icy roads, according to published reports. Incidents include cars overturned and in ditches and down embankments and jack-knifed, overturned stalled heavy trucks and tractor-trailers.

"It's terrible out!!!" Sheree Dover commented. "Bartow county schools and Cartersville city schools should be very ashamed of themselves risking the lives of our precious babies this way!!!!!!!!"

Bartow Schools Superintendent John Harper and City of Cartersville Schools Superintendent Howard Hinesley tell The Daily Tribune News both systems made the decision to close early about 11 a.m. Harper cited inaccurate weather forecasting that led to severe conditions for county school buses and indicated some students would be at school tonight, while Hinesley said city school buses set off on field trips had be called back and the city school system doesn't have enough buses to get all the students home at one time.

A winter weather advisory issued Tuesday morning warned of snow accumulations of up to an inch for Bartow County coupled with below freezing temperatures. 

But Winter Storm Leon may may have struck with a vengeance, as by Tuesday afternoon Bartow was included in a winter storm warning, which advised of 1 to 3 inches of snow accumulations. 

"The weather forecast did not warn any county north of Atlanta of any excessive danger," Lisa Foster commented on Cartersville Patch's Facebook page. "About (2 p.m.) Channel 2 announced northwest Georgia was NOW included in the severe warning.

"I'm praying that everybody gets home safe, or are already home. I'm a mom too. I know how scary it is. I'm not trying to take any sides, this happened in 1993 but much worse, throughout the state. It was a blizzard. Anybody remember that?"

Snow began to fall in Bartow about 10 a.m., and the situation on local roads by early afternoon "had gone from bad to worse," Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Cuprowski told the newspaper.  

Emergency crews continue to transport students home from schools and respond to traffic problems throughout the county. Salt trucks are treating and being requested for iced-over bridges and areas.

Neither city nor county schools at 3:45 p.m. had announced a decision on closing schools Wednesday. The temp is expected to dip to 15 tonight.

Should school administrators have closed schools earlier? Or are weather forecasters to blame? 

Tell us what you think in the comments, share your photos and videos, and don’t miss any of the local news you care about—subscribe to Cartersville Patch's newsletter, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Richard G Rhodes January 29, 2014 at 08:03 AM
Parents should have kept their children and their self at home.
Terry Scoggins January 29, 2014 at 09:08 AM
This is all CYA. even though a Winter Storm Watch was lifted the left in place a winter weather advisory. Read what that says. The call should have come much sooner. The Superintendents should answer for this massive screwup.
Scott Fletcher January 29, 2014 at 09:34 AM
No way it can be blamed on forecasting. I made the call for our small company and sent folks home at 9am. It isn't worth risking peoples safety for a few hours of work. I wish those administrators that look after the welfare of our children were as concerned!
ray jay January 29, 2014 at 09:36 AM
They say they made the call at 11 to close Schools but i disagree with that because at 11 we were told they were ginna close school at 2 so my wife said we going to get our son which goes to school at cartersville middle when we got to school he was on aa field trip and didn't get back to the school till about 1245 it was a nightmare. To have school on a snowy day was one thing but to send the kids off on a field trip was nieve to say the least and especially considering they have been to tellus museum 5 other times. Its not like they were gonna miss anything spectacular.

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