Elkhart's neighboring county kept kids in school Wednesday

Most Elkhart County schools canceled classes on Wednesday, March 12, but that wasn't true in St. Joseph County. Two PHM school buses were involved in weather-related accidents as they transported students, but no one was hurt.

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 5:33 p.m.

Two Penn-Harris-Madison school buses were involved in weather-related accidents on Wednesday morning, March 12, but the corporation said no students were hurt.

Teresa Carroll, spokeswoman for PHM, said nine students were checked by a school nurse after their bus slid off the road in Mishawaka. The students called their parents, but ended up staying at school, Carroll said.

Another bus was hit in Granger when a car slid into it. Students were on board, but no one was injured, Carroll said. 

The weather also caused buses to be delayed. One mom, Jennifer Anderson, said her 14-year-old son waited more than an hour for his bus.  Anderson said she decided to keep her son home for the day when she heard that PHM buses were involved in accidents.

She wonders if school should have been canceled for the day.

"Obviously, if there are buses crashing and sliding off, that's not a good situation for our kids," she said Wednesday afternoon.

Carroll said buses were delayed even more than on a usual bad weather day, and apologized on behalf of the corporation. Student attendance, she added, was close to normal even with the snow causing problems.

To cancel or not to cancel

PHM didn't cancel school Wednesday because heavy snowfall didn't start until buses were already on the roads, Carroll said.

The decision to either cancel school or carry on with the usual schedule can be controversial, as South Bend Community Schools Superintendent Carole Schmidt said in a statement Wednesday.

South Bend schools and School City of Mishawaka also did not cancel school on Wednesday, though most Elkhart County schools were closed.

"Ideally, the decision to close is made the night before and notification provided as early as possible," Schmidt said in her statement. 

But when weather changes rapidly overnight, schools must work quickly to figure out how to adjust.

South Bend school buses were also delayed, and some got stuck in snow, according to Sue Coney, director of communications for the district. No accidents were reported. 

School City of Mishawaka only runs buses for special education students, and there were no reported incidents involving buses on Wednesday.

MORE: Snow day isn't stopping Bethany students from learning

MORE: Winter storm leads to slick roads, crashes, and slide offs in Elkhart County

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks


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