Baltimore city kids, parents, and teachers were generally shocked this morning that despite several inches of snowfall, freezing temperatures, and dangerous driving conditions, Baltimore City Public Schools opened on time. It was the first time in recent memory that Baltimore County schools were closed and city schools opened on time, without even a delay.
Many parents and teachers speculated that new schools CEO Gregory Thornton, who is in his first year in the position after serving as superintendent of Milwaukee schools, was trying to send a message he won't be as quick to close schools as previous leaders had been.
But students, parents—and even the mayor—took Thornton to task for the decision on Twitter by sending funny, outraged tweets as well as photos and memes to Baltimore City Public Schools' Twitter account (@BaltCitySchools), often with the hashtag#unsafecommute. The most entertaining tweet features a student standing in the snow giving a thumbs-up next to a school bus with a car that has slid off the road in the background.
Another particularly good one sets up a dialogue between the students and Baltimore City Public Schools. It reads "Us: can we at least get a delay" followed by an image of the back of Ravens tight end Philip Supernaw's jersey, as if the answer to that question is "supernaw."
Other students have just posted images of snow-filled sidewalks and roads or sent messages to @BaltCitySchools with a skull emoji suggesting conditions are unsafe. And on a more serious note, ConneXions, a public charter arts school in the city, tweeted from its account, @ConnexionsBalti, "Get well soon Mrs. T! She slipped on the slick sidewalk and became injured during today's #unsafecommute."
Many of these tweets are hilarious and a few have spread across local Twitter and gone quasi-viral, but it's also worth noting that this is also a form of protest against a poor decision in the eyes of many in the city and, potentially, a way to engage a public official. One student, after sending a message to @BaltCitySchools and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's account (@MayorSRB), even received a response from the mayor's account, which wrote: "@iGotDa_BLUES I do get frustration abt no delay. I'm a parent too. Unfort the decision to delay rests w/ @BaltCitySchools not my office."