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Douglas Schools Superintendent Pritz: 'Thanks and Apology'

"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." - Dr. Gordon Pritz

Douglas County School System seal. Courtesy the Douglas County School System Facebook page
Douglas County School System seal. Courtesy the Douglas County School System Facebook page
The following message from Douglas County School System Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz was posted at the System's website and Facebook page concerning the events surrounding this week's Winter Storm Leon:

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
Susan Morgan February 01, 2014 at 04:30 PM
You should be ashamed! Thank God we have quality teachers, school workers and bus drivers that actually CARE about our children. As for you, you are nothing but a weak coward that needs to go!
Forgiveness February 02, 2014 at 11:55 AM
Cowards don't apologize Susan. Dr Pritz is human like all if us. We make mistakes, we learn from them and move forward. Learn to forgive and your anger will disappear. It was a wake up call to all of us. To open our eyes to all we take for granted. It takes a city pulling together despite our differences for the greater good.
Murray Jr February 02, 2014 at 04:00 PM
I'm glad he admitted that mistakes were made. That is the first step towards making thing better next time. I think we should take the apology with the sincerity it was delivered with and see how situations are handled like this in the future. One good step was made already when they announced early that schools would be closed on Friday. I could go either way on that call, but it's good that they made the decision early enough for people to make arrangements.

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