An emergency averted

Paris 95’s disaster drills, planning helped keep our children safe Thursday

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Thank goodness there was no fire Thursday morning in the kitchen at Carolyn Wenz School — and thank goodness the leadership of Paris District 95 had planned and drilled the students on emergency procedures.

When the fire alarm sounded Thursday morning, the students did what they have practiced many times — they immediately left the building. They were taken to the Paris Fire Department where EMTs awaited to make sure everyone was OK — and they were.

Meanwhile — as per the district’s emergency plan — all the district’s administrators answered the call to the school. Because the sprinkler system went off, the kitchen was full of water and lunch could not prepared. Plans were quickly made to provide lunch to every student, thanks to a local restaurant.

There has been criticism about Paris 95 and Crestwood children being in school Thursday. Many on social media believed the temperatures were too cold and pointed to several other area districts that canceled classes Thursday.

These type of discussions and criticisms always appear — both pro and con — anytime school is canceled or continues in session. Parents always have the option to keep their children at home if they are concerned for their safety.

It’s no secret the number of children in Paris 95 schools who are eligible for free or reduced lunches is nearly 70 percent. When school is canceled for any reason, many of these children will not have adequate food in their homes.

School attendance is important, but we believe anytime the administrators in this county are painted as caring only about attendance and not the children, those doing so are absolutely wrong.

We have exemplary schools and school districts in Edgar County, led by a dedicated group of school administrators, caring teachers and sraff members. Despite the obstacles many students face each day at home, attending school and receiving an education is a step toward improving their lives.

For now, we salute everyone who worked to keep all our children safe.