Last day of school is…when?

Claire Hunt

During the winter, students in Hereford dream of a snow storm so they can catch up on sleep, Pretty Little Liars, and Web Assign. When snow doesn’t come, students say to themselves, “Well, at least we will get out early this year.” However, this year, this is not the case. Baltimore County Public Schools had one snow day this year and one Hereford Zone only closing day. Although there were many hour delays, there weren’t nearly enough to justify a last day of school on June 14.

In my 11 years of schooling in Baltimore County, I have never had a final week of school without at least two half-days. I can’t imagine the kind of hell students will now have to undergo as we sit through a week of 90 degree weather in a school with no air conditioning and freshmen who don’t wear deodorant. Wouldn’t students be in better condition at home, studying for finals in their air-conditioned bedrooms than sitting in a stuffy classroom doing work for a class that is now over?
Baltimore County does not get a mid-winter break like schools in other states because of predicted snow. Without snow, the winter drags on as students are slumped with work. Baltimore County, allegedly, schedules seven snow days in every year so, when we don’t get snow, we are compensated with an earlier end to the year. In theory, if this is how the years schedule works, we should be getting out about a week earlier.
It’s rumored that the reason behind our late release is the hurricane days for Super Storm Sandy. These days, however, were days where Maryland was declared to be in a state of emergency. Previously, state of emergency days were not made up at the end of the year. Baltimore County has claimed that we will be making up these days because we “didn’t get the money” for a state of emergency. Which makes no sense. Wouldn’t it cost less money to close the schools early?
The most probable rumor is that there are a certain amount of “hours” BCPS requires schools to have throughout the school year. Allegedly, Dr. Dance and the rest of the board has allowed room for days where schools will be let out for heat in order to accommodate for hours lost. So what does that mean? If we are never released for heat, meaning that I have completed enough hours to finish out my school year, am I allowed to just not show up? Assuming that this is not the message BCPS intended to send, BCPS has no authority to “assume” that we will get out for heat and require more hours in school.
The June 10-14 full-day week will be one which drags on and on. Every student and teacher will be forced to sit in a classroom full of “meaningful instruction” (a.k.a. movies and a worksheet), testing, fans which only push around hot air, and water fountains which provide a substance that should not be considered water. These extra days will prove unhealthy, unnecessary, and unacceptable. The county should reevaluate the benefit of these last days, and, while it may be late to adjust this year’s schedule, students and parents should voice their concerns to Dr. Dance to prevent the situation next year.