After at least one parent complained on Facebook, Longview ISD officials confirmed students attended classes at three campuses without electricity Thursday, and officials announced late Thursday that classes on those campuses would be canceled today.
A storm Wednesday afternoon across East Texas left thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings — including J.L. Everhart Elementary, Bramlette STEAM Academy and Forest Park Middle School in Longview ISD — without power.
Parents received communication from Longview ISD on Thursday morning that all campuses were open and buses would be running their regular routes as much as possible, but the message did not say some campuses did not have electricity.
District spokesperson Elizabeth Ross said she was told by the chief financial officer the plan was that students who normally attend campuses that had yet to have power restored could be bused to other schools.
Superintendent James Wilcox said that was never the plan.
Wilcox said the plan was to bring students to campuses so they could have breakfast and lunch. Students had breakfast, did “various activities,” had lunch and were later bused home from the campuses that had no electricity, or parents picked them up.
“Our hope was the electricity would be back on,” Wilcox said. “That was not the case.”
Ross said Everhart, Bramlette and Forest Park still were without power as of Thursday evening, and those campuses would not have classes today.
A parent posted a complaint on Facebook on Thursday, saying a sign at her child’s school the morning after the storm read, “no power no food your choice.”
Ross said the district did not post the sign, but she could not confirm if a campus had.
“While I didn’t see that sign, as a parent, if I knew that campus didn’t have power, I would not have sent them,” she said. “Our parents have to make the best choices for their kids.
“Today was not our best day,” Ross said. “For our campuses that had power, it was the chance for our kids to have electricity, to have a hot meal and get away from a bad situation. For our campuses that did not have power, it was not a good situation.”
Ross said the district safety team will meet and evaluate how to act on future situations such as Thursday’s.
She said the storm left some district families displaced. Anyone with information on temporary shelters, free hot meals, clothing donations, hot showers or any other assistance may email her at email@example.com .