• Kent schools get ‘failing grade' for snow response

    By: Deborah Horne


    KENT, Wash. - Chopper 7 flew over Kent where roads were slick.

    On Southeast Lake Young Way vehicles and Kent School bus drivers were trapped for hours. The road, made almost impassable, by snow and ice.

    Dale Evans gave up trying to drive his daughter to school.

    "There were probably like 10 cars in the ditch and both sides of the road were lined with cars," said Evans. "People trying to get up and down, people stuck in the middle of the roads."

    The five-minute trip to the school LeAnn Struble's daughters attend took a half hour.  

    "It was a solid sheet of ice and it's a straight shot to their school," said Struble.  "We don't have to make any corners; it's a straight shot.  But it was a solid sheet of ice."

    She thinks school should have been called off or at least delayed.

    "By six o'clock this morning, Kent was already closing roads," she said. "That should have been a really big indication that they needed to delay."

    School officials said when they did their customary check at about 4 a.m. Friday morning, the roads were clear.  Within two hours, they saw that roads had turned icy.

    "By that time, buses were rolling, kids were coming to school," said District Spokesman Chris Loftis.

    Still Loftis conceded school officials earned a failing grade.

    "We messed up," he said.  "We missed it.   And we're sorry."

    Loftis says there were three minor accidents involving school buses and several accidents involving people trying to get to school.   No one was hurt.

    But he says they will change the way they decide to call off school, to make a better -- safer -- decision next time

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