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Message From Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz

January 31, 2014

Dear Douglas County Schools Community,

Please let me provide this message of thanks and apology in regard to the unprecedented events of January 28th and 29th.

The situations we all endured last Tuesday were both tremendously challenging and at the same time dramatically revealing. I can recall only a few other events that rival the challenge for a school district that this weather event did. I think of the huge influx into schools of students and families after Hurricane Katrina and certainly the historic flooding in our area several years ago, as examples. Both were unprecedented. I am certain this event was no less in magnitude and will always be remembered as such.

From my experience, events like this reveal true character as well. I am so proud and humbled by the “heroes” that stepped forward across our county and in our schools. There are so many to thank and in no certain order, let me try. Our bus drivers… they demonstrated kindness and courage in getting as many of our children home as safely possible, with some even returning to schools to stay with kids. Thanks. Our teachers… support staff and administrators safely sheltered, helped transport, fed and literally served as “mom and dad” when the real moms and dads could not get from work/home to school. Thanks. Our parents… with your patience, understanding and efforts to help return your child, and even other people’s children, safely to your home or a friend’s and neighbor’s home. Thanks. Finally, our students… who remained strong under circumstances they may have never experienced before and prayerfully, never again. Thanks. All of you are appreciated, admired and respected more than you can ever know, and are all true heroes in my eyes.

Finally, let me offer my deepest and sincere apology for the mistake made in not dismissing school earlier in the day, or altogether, on the 28th. I think we can all look back on it now and know that should have been done. We never have the intention to put our students in harm’s way, in fact we always strive to make student safety our number one priority. That remains and will always be our number one priority. We make weather-related decisions on school closings, based on a number of factors. No two situations are ever the same and so each event brings on unique and specific challenges. The great majority of the time, we get it right. This time we clearly did not and for that I take full responsibility as Superintendent. I will strive to get it right in the future, you have my sincere word.

In the end, what I am most thankful for is that all our children and staff are safe and that we will get to gather again in school on Monday to share, teach and learn together. Have a safe and well-rested weekend. God bless each of you.  

Gordon Pritz
Superintendent, Douglas County Schools

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