Canceling class: Snow days and ‘coddled kids’

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WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Godfrey-Lee Public Schools Superintendent David Britten has a reputation for telling it like it is. That extends to his social media posts, so a tweet about the decision to keep school open despite a snow storm Tuesday probably shouldn’t have surprised anyone.

As the snow fell, several districts hit the cancel button.

Britten decided to hold classes, and hit the send button.

“Funny part is the high school students would all be at the mall right now if we did have a snow day,” Britten posted on Twitter. “#PureMichigan #coddledgeneration”

“Everyone knows my motto is leading out loud,” Britten told 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday.

He said the “coddled generation” hashtag was more about the lighthearted exchange he has with students and parents on social media.

“I get a lot of ribbing from alumni and from former staff of this district about the days where they never had a snow day, and now sometimes we max ours out,” Britten said.

He said deciding whether to close the district for snow days is based on several factors. Unlike many nearby districts, Godfrey-Lee encompasses just one square mile of city streets and sidewalks. Most students are within walking distance (six-tenths of a mile) from schools. The district runs just two buses for younger students.

Additionally, early reports Tuesday suggested a later, after-school snow fall.

“It was predicted originally for after 3 o’clock. It started coming down about 1 o’clock. We started to debate whether or not it was the best thing to do,” Britten said.

There are other considerations. Britten says he tries to weigh student safety with other factors, like whether some kids will get a well-balanced meal if they stay home.

“Ninety-four percent of our students are eligible for free and reduced meals. We have the highest poverty in Kent County,” Britten said.

As for the tweet, Britten said past give-and-take with students on social media proves his point.

“As soon as we close, they start sharing information about which movie they’re going to or which mall or ‘we’re all going to meet and go out to eat for lunch’ or something like that,” Britten said.

The good news: Godfrey-Lee students will likely begin their summer vacation on schedule as the district has only used one snow day so far this year.

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