Davis admits he 'should have delayed school'

The Wilson Post

Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis admitted he might should have delayed school in the county following the EF-2 tornado that ripped thru the streets of Mt. Juliet early Wednesday morning.

While Davis did call for the closure of W.A. Wright, Mt. Juliet Elementary and West Wilson Middle School due to a power outage, he did not close any other schools in the county.

I made the best decision I could make at the time, Davis said after being addressed by Board Member Greg Lasater who expressed his dissatisfaction with how the situation was handled. I was out there at 4 oclock in the morning looking at the situation. There is over 800 miles of road in Wilson County. I understand your concern and will take that under advisement when we have other issues.

Lasater said he was probably more upset with the decision that was made than any other in recent memory.

I was out in this mess. When (Mt. Juliet City Manager) Kenny Martin says we have a propane tank in the middle of Highway 70 and we have got a school bus heading toward it, somethings wrong, Lasater trailed off. I really think we dropped the ball on this one.

Davis said a number of factors, including the school systems limited number of weather days, contributed to his decision to not close schools following the storm and on Fridays snow day.

I do take the safety of everyone students and teachers and faculty first and foremost when making any decision. It is a hard decision to make, Davis said. I get calls all the time about parents wanting to know the night before if we are going to close school so that they can make arrangements (for child care). It is a real burden on the population that works outside of the county.

Board Member Bill Robinson also articulated his disappointment with the failure to cancel school. I am not throwing anybody under the bus, I want to make that clear, he said. But I have been taught all my life that when there is any doubt dont put a child at risk.

One way that the Board of Education is increasing student safety is through the placement of a School Resource Officer in every school making Wilson one of the only counties in the state to have this level of protection. Monday night the board approved $95,000 to fund four of the eight SROs, with the County funding the other half.