First. Let me start by saying this is usually a sports column. Second. I am extremely tired and ‘hangry’ because I spent the entire night in a smackdown with Mother Nature. It went extra innings. Third. I totally realize it's hard to make tough decisions nowadays and I am usually not this harsh. Fourth. I have nothing but love and respect for the Williamsport Area School District. I am a proud alum and one of their biggest athletic supporters. But...
By 3:00 a.m. I was about to give up. Water was flowing everywhere. I mean everywhere. That's what happens when an unexpected five and a half inches of rain comes down in just two hours. Now the Spencer's live in Cogan Station. Yes. We are close to Lycoming Creek, but thankfully we are up on a hill. My family and I have experienced a few wet basements and we all vividly remember that September flood. However, I have never seen water in places like I did that night.
By 4:00 a.m. our driveway was now two feet deep with standing water with absolutely nowhere to go. The steady downpours had finally stopped, but the lake outside was now moving in. I tried everything folks. From digging trenches, to using my heavy-duty snow shovel to help redirect. MacGyver would've been proud. But my barricades were starting to fail. Man. What a mess.
By 5:00 a.m. I pulled out the heavy-duty ShopVacs and rigged up some pumps to combat the pond of water now in our garage. A big shout out to my father-in-law for stepping up to the plate. Mike Coledo was here with me all night. Mother Nature may have won, but we didn't go down with a fight. For once I was actually cool with living next to my in-laws.
By now Mom received word that Loyalsock Area School District was now closed because of major flooding and closed roadways. Good. Maybe teach could go upstairs and get some rest. Minutes later we heard Montoursville did the same thing. Smart move. According to my online chums it was a complete disaster zone everywhere.
By 6:00 a.m. Williamsport Area School District still hadn't budged. No word. Nothing. Not even a two-hour delay. Strange. Michelle and I got to talking with other parents and we couldn't believe they didn't call it off. Some remained civil while others (several) threatened to boycott. Regardless. Stupidity was the general consensus. “Jensen! It's time to wake up and get dressed for school buddy.”
Look. I totally understand this was a rather difficult decision and tough situation. I get that. But... Perhaps you should have used a little more common sense people. You say that you are promoting a safe haven for our children and, most often than not, you do. But wow. The 17728 was hit hard. I mean real hard. Just as bad as our brothers and sisters of our neighboring districts. They hit a home run by cancelling. You swung and missed.
We take into account all of our students in WASD. Really? Okay. Hepburn-Lycoming is a very small school. It might be the smallest in your district. But did you know that it is on State Route 973 where parts were actually closed for an extended period of time? Roads were flooded. Bus routes were a disaster for us here up north. Choppers are still flying overhead and evacuations are ongoing. And guess what? The boys and girls are still in their classrooms. You can't make it up.
Here is my solution. I am not asking you to shut down the entire district during a natural disaster. But you should have closed the Hepburn-Lycoming school! No brainer. Half of the kids stayed home anyways. I even hear that ten members of your staff called in and said no way. Disappointing.
By 10:00 a.m. I received a recorded voicemail from the Williamsport Area School District. (How did you get my number?) They completely understood some of the area was "experiencing" some flooding and they told me that if your child stayed home it would have been an excused absence. SAY WHAT? But they assured me that my child was safe. How would you know computer lady? The road is closed. WASD was in constant communication with the authorities who were busy evacuating homes and rescuing people just down the street. Hepburn Elementary will still dismiss at its regular time. When she was done, I picked up the phone and called my lovely bride. HEY. MAYBE ITS TIME YOU GOT GET J. Nothing but love and positive vibes to my neighbors who were devastated by that flash October flood in the 17728. #backtosportsnextweek.