Newington cancels school after garnering opinions on social medi - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Newington cancels school after garnering opinions on social media

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NEWINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

After staying open during Winter Storm Barbara, one Connecticut town tried to use humor on its Facebook page to get suggestions from parents on what they should do in case of a storm on Monday. 

While opting to cancel classes on Monday, Newington Public Schools was one of a few districts in Connecticut to stay open during the storm on Friday.  

Newington Public Schools even lost power on Friday morning while students were inside the building, however Superintendent of Schools Dr. William C. Collins said the lights flickered for less than a minute and the high school has had power issues for years because they're somehow connected with the neighboring veterans’ affairs hospital.

The decision upset parents and students alike.

"Anything over 3 inches, we should be notified. The roads are dangerous, teachers have to travel to school, kids have to walk," said Jeff D'Amato.

“I do think it’s a safety issue. I know a lot of parents pick their kids up today early because they don't want them on the bus,” parent Sandra Salvatore said.

The decision also led to low attendance, according to some students.

“When I got to my English class, there was like three or four people and then sat on my phone for the rest of the day,” Junior AJ Bernardo said.

On Sunday, a poll was posted to the official Newington Public Schools Facebook page asking parents to what they should do about a possible messy Monday morning commute. The makeshift poll asked parents to choose from the following:

  • Open at the regular time
  • Open with a 90 minute delay
  • Close for the day
  • Have an early dismissal

Shortly after it was posted on Sunday morning, the post was taken down and replaced with another one, stating that “the superintendent's number 1 priority has been and always will be the safety of students and staff.”

“While we do appreciate constructive feedback, we also would appreciate the feedback not include expletives or threatening messages. Please remember our children visit this page to see positive things going on in their schools. That being said, we sincerely do appreciate your feedback on school closings (in general),” the post states.

However, the post also mentioned that the schools’ social media accounts were hacked this weekend.

“On another note, it does appear some of our social media accounts (Facebook & Twitter) have been "hacked", so please be sure you are reading the "Official" Page,” the post states.

On Sunday afternoon, in an email Collins told Eyewitness News "We no longer have a social media intern maintaining our social media so our login code has been given out to numerous people to maintain the page. It seems there are also several (non official) Facebook and Twitter pages that have been created. Our intent was to find out if there are specific areas in town that are problematic so they can be communicated with the highway dept.  We don't cancel school by voting.  I would rather not comment on the previous as I don't want to give anyone else any ideas about trying to hack."

Collins previously told Eyewitness News he believes he made the right call, especially since the snow stopped falling before students were dismissed. 

The superintendent said no one was injured and all the students were safe during the school day. Collins added that he doesn’t mess around with ice and would be the first to cancel school in that incident.    

The post said that the administration welcomes feedback and suggestions to help make future decisions such as what streets were unplowed and if sidewalks were covered in snow. 

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