Thursday, January 8, 2015

A letter to the students of Novi High School

You, my friends, are an awesome group of people.

You are funny, talented, thoughtful, and intelligent. You are, most of the time, friendly, polite, caring, and honest.

But you were not happy with me this morning.

A parent in the district received this message from her Novi High School daughter this morning:

(I assume the frozen fingers accounted for the spelling error - years instead of tears. But there certainly was no mistaking her earlier sentiment of how she felt about me this morning.)

Many of you, as evidenced by this text, were not happy with me this morning.

If you think this was an isolated occurrence you would be wrong.

Favorited by 46 people!

I chuckled at your comments, enjoyed the banter between us, and appreciated that you were paying attention.

But there are at least two lessons that are important to remember here.

First, each of us will be called to make difficult decisions in our life. Difficult decisions should be made with care. You should collect information, weigh potential outcomes, examine alternatives, and then make the best choice you can.

I did that today.

Did I make the right call on having school when there was a wind chill approaching -20 degrees?

I think I did.

Obviously some of you had a different opinion.

When others disagree with a decision that you make it is important to listen, reflect, and see what can be learned.

Which brings me to the second lesson that I remembered today.

In your life there will be people who make decisions that impact you with which you completely disagree. In the social media world that we live in it is easy and somewhat comfortable to take to Twitter or Facebook or Snapchat or whatever other application there is that I don't know about and vent.

It feels good. It makes people laugh.

But it could get you in trouble. Some bosses, colleagues, employees, or employers may not be as understanding as I am about comments that are vulgar, disparaging, or mean.

I would urge you to use caution and to think while you Tweet, post, and communicate via social media.

I was in your school today during "A" lunch. I visited tables saying hello, smiling and laughing with your classmates. It appeared that you were enjoying being in school. I hope that was true.

Novi High School is a good place to be - even on cold days like today.

Sincerely,

Dr. Matthews



116 comments:

  1. This was well written, but I do think the call was wrong here. You chart from your previous graph showed how long it would take for the AVERAGE person to receive a frostbite. The Novi Community is a melting pot of different people as I'm sure you know. Tall and skinny people, diabetics, and young children are more susceptible. I believe your chart only accounts for protected areas, as most people do not have proper face protection for the extreme cold, the rate of getting frostbite should be quicker. Additionally, I have been going to Novi schools all my life, I live in the neighborhood "Walden Woods" which is just under one mile away from the Elementary School Parkview, because of this, I had no choice but to walk home from school as my parents were working. Conditions like these seem almost unbearable for a young child in grades K-4 to walk nearly a mile in just to get home! Especially since my face felt completely numb just from walking home from the buses. I feel that because more Highschoolers were Tweeting out to you last night and more were messaging you to encourage to have a Snow Day that you forgot about the other grades, as I'm sure it was the most hard on them. While I do believe you tried to make the best call, I would have to absolutely disagree. A Kindergartner should not have to go through such turmoil as the consequences can become extremely hazardous, I have always felt that safety was the number one priority, on situations like today I urge you to call off school for the greater well-being of all.

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    1. My sources:
      http://www.businessinsider.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-frostbite-or-hypothermia-2014-1
      http://montreal.about.com/od/frostbite-faqs/qt/how-long-to-get-frostbite.htm
      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2010/01/5-cold-weather-health-hazards-and-how-to-stay-safe/index.htm
      http://www.michigan.gov/safeschools/0,4665,7-181-24871---,00.html

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    2. Windchill is calculated assuming bare skin.

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    3. For all who are complaining



















































































































      For all who are complaining please just stop and get over it the call had been made so just move on.



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    4. But how is it his problem that you do not have the proper clothing for this weather. We live in Michigan and even people who have never even visitited Michigan know that our winters are very cold a snowy.

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    5. Don't forget, if kids have the day off, especially younger kids, parents are forced to stay home. This decreases home income and often. Timed can anger their bosses resulting in them being fired. As much as kids love snow days, in the real world, you don't get snow days from work. Nut up and get your a$$ in school. Just because 370 people jump off a bridge doesn't mean the superintendent is going to as well. Good for him. Stick to his guns, because at the end of the day, it is Obama's fault.

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    6. To all of anonymous,
      We as children from K-12 walked to school & had no days off unless it was -25. You were dressed according to the weather, ie, long underwear, layers, heavy coat, gloves, scarf, hat. Novi income is far from a poor area. So with an area that I expect are college educated, would know how to dress their children if walking or outside for recess. Look at Michigan state school rules for calling off school. I know it was very cold, but if the children were dressed for outside conditions not the latest fashion they would be warm enough because they would be getting the exercise to keep plenty warm enough if dressed correctly! Teaching your children to dress for fashion & for others is wrong. Teaching your children to dress for the weather & they can primp hair & take off layers when they get to school . Children are whiny enough they don't need parents making them more weak to blame someone else for their responsibilities.
      I taught my children that they dress for the weather if outside. If my boys got cold because they didn't wear the gear to keep warm it was their fault, ie frostbite.
      Also, why is if you have so much concern that you can't stand up and put your name? To me you have no right to complain if you can't give your name. You're just a cyber bully! Stand up if a parent if you think it's wrong & show your children you take responsibility for your actions instead of being a weak cyber bully!

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    7. You know what? A parent has the right to decline to send their child to school, even if school is open. So, if the trip there and back is going to be too much for an individual child, don't go; make a personal choice. The personal choice of some, however, should not have dictate that all children stay home. The world does NOT stop outside of school for cold weather: you don't see businesses closing because people have to get somewhere. Suck it up, put on warm clothing and everybody quit WHINING about this. We live in the north; it's cold; it's snowy; it's icy. Dress for it and with common sense you'll be fine. You should be happy you have a superintendent who uses common sense, thinks for himself and doesn't just follow the crowd.

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    8. It's not the 1980s anymore. We are in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century.

      One of the not-so-great changes is that you used to be able to work with a teacher and principal for weather days, if you disagreed to send your child. Those days are gone. Every day is treated like count day. Many teachers can't have a style...it's all Common Core. Kids are now lagging behind and sometimes teachers will not allow students to make up work based upon an Unexcused absence. There have been districts who have done this even though the parent excused their child due to weather and safety reasons.

      Matthews is the real cyber bully. I'm glad your kids have ten layers to wear. Sometimes I didn't. But you don't think about that. I can't fix the blinders you have about Mr. Downtalker's "F*** you students and parents" stunt. That's up to you. A bully is someone who threatens you and demeans you. Someone with a different opinion is not a bully, but may actually bring a different perspective to the conversation. You don't have to agree, but to call it bullying is the incorrect terminology.

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  2. As a current University of Michigan student and Novi Schools graduate, I have no doubt that Dr. Matthews made the right call! I understand how frustrating it is when no one else has school, but you are receiving such a wonderful education that you should consider it a PRIVILEGE to have teachers and staff that are willing to make the trek to school when it is so cold out! Yes I walked a half a mile to class today as well, and yes it was cold, but getting out of bed without complaining is a lesson I learned from being a Wildcat!

    Thank you to all the teachers and staff that braved to cold to teach my siblings, neighbors and old classmates today.

    Let's stay classy Novi!

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  3. Lots of respect gained for Dr. Matthews today...it was a difficult decision to make but he made the right one.

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  4. As stated by others, this is fairly well written. I would just like to point out something I've been noticing in your arguments that has been making it much harder for me to agree with you. You almost always skirt around the topic presented to you, and you don't explain reasoning behind your decisions. Why is -25 degrees the chosen temperature for closing school, as stated in your previous blog? And why aren't you explaining the decision to still close school today? I understand that the temperature was slightly above estimated, but only by a few degrees. I want you to give me solid proof and reasoning that these temperatures are entirely safe. Lastly, I want to know WHY you refuse to announce snow/cold days the night before! When confronted with the knowledge that there might be a day off, students will begin to put off work. When the day off becomes likely, they will probably go to sleep later and not do the remaining homework. If you don't tell these students that they won't have school on the night before (preferably before 10:30) then they'll be coming into school sleep deprived and under prepared with their homework. That's not even mentioning some students that wake up earlier to exercise, finish last minute homework, or even have to come into school for a 0 hour class that will be hurt by these effects even worse.

    Please, work with your students and keep their arguments in mind.

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    1. Hmm why make the call the night before based on forecast which we all know are wrong often when he can wait to see the real weather. Teach your kids to plan on worst case and that they wI'll have school. My kids did there he and went to bed at the normal times.

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    2. Agreed. It's stated several times that you made the right decision, but WHY was it right? There seems to be no explanation or back up here. I think everyone who is upset would all be a little more at ease if you could offer a little more than a frostbite chart.

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    3. I agree with Dr. Mathews choice (which I'm sure is not an easy one. You can't make everyone happy.) I also wonder why you would assume that Dr. Mathews would make the call the night before if the weather condition is on the fence and the weather people are often wrong. I also agree with a writer above that pointed out that it is a good lesson for kids to be prepared for the worst and best case scenario. They should be assuming that they are going to have school and therefore be prepared and if they don't, well that is a bonus in the morning. This is how the real world works. You don't find out the night before work all the time if you will have to show up or not the next day because of the weather. Actually most employers won't care about the weather, you are expected to get to your job. We really need to stop babying these kids and let them face some hard situations at times, so when they are in the real world they won't whine and fail. I think it is hilarious how much you want Dr. Mathews to cater to your kids in the statement above. You want Dr. Mathews to call the weather specifically before 10:30pm. Lol, so what, you can know if they need to go to bed at a descent time or stay up late. How is it Dr. Mathews job to raise your child. (ie: going to bed late and maybe being tired for school, or homework not done, etc. Ha Ha... Omgosh! Unrealistic expectations.

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    4. So you expect young children K-4 to pretty much act like adults? Not to mention the fact that many of these kids have to walk to school upwards of a mile, which I don't think you would do in such harsh conditions but some of these kids have no choice, and it's not fair to them. Also, a good thing that prepares you for the real world is proper spelling and grammar, for example decent is not spelled descent. Not to mention, Dr. Matthews SHOULD have some responsibility over children, he is the Superintendent of Novi Community Schools for a reason. He makes over $175k to do his job, I don't see the point in making any excuses for him.

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    5. Which parent would let their little child walk to school in this weather? I would rather drop them safely to school than having to either take a day off because kids are home or work from home to baby sit.

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    6. I'm sure most loving parents who can drive their kid right to the door have no issue, I am a mother of a kindergarten error who would need to walk because though I love him, I have seizures and can't drive him to the front door.

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    7. You let your kindergartner walk to school? you need different arrangements, even for the summer time.

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    8. I walked to school as a kindergartner, as did most people I know. What is wrong with it?

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    9. To one of the writers above, I don't know any K-4 child that walks a mile to school.(There is a bus system for all kids that live that far away.) Besides, who would think it would be safe to let their child that young walk a mile by themselves in any weather. That is not very safe. In Novi most kids take the bus, they do not walk; also a lot of parents drive kids to school. Kids should be dressed appropriately for Michigan winters and if it is that cold out and a parent can't drive them, I'm sure other arrangements could be made with neighbors or other families to drive the child. As far as Dr. Mathews taking responsibility over the children, I believe he does it every day. He is very involved with the kids and makes rounds to the schools all the time. We are not making excuses for him, because there are none to be made. He did his job and he did it well. You mentioning how much he makes a year doesn't have anything to do with anything and frankly it is very petty.

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  5. The buses ran on time today for our school, so there was no problem with having school today, in my opinion. I thank you, Dr. Matthews for making sure that the kids were not at the bus stop longer then necessary.

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  6. Yes it was cold, but this is Michigan and that is expected. Dress warmly and you should be fine. Roads were clear, buses were on time. I see no reason to cancel classes. Learning is a privilege that many of us take for granted.

    Kudos to Dr. Matthews for not canceling class.

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  7. It's hard to do the right thing and please others all at the same time.
    It wasn't even that cold today and yes, Dr. Matthews, you did know better than 370 other superintendents. Thank you.

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    1. ^^^Agree, agree, agree. :)

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  8. Dr. Matthews, you are in that position for your hard work and the decisions you took in your life and I might be wrong to point fingers at you as you might have more accurate information than we do as Parents of Elementary grade kids... It will be beneficial for all Parents and Kids if we have more information on the grounds when a decision is made or will be made. And as rightly pointed out by one of the person in the comments above, it will be more beneficial if the decisions are taken much earlier than waiting until early morning... One thing I observed in Michigan is it's unpredictable weather... How will You handle a situation if things turn worse than you predicted or from the Information you collected. It is always good to hear your opinions back for our comments.

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    1. Really? You ask him to make the decision earlier, but then ask how he would handle it if the weather changes after he makes the decision? Huh? He makes the decision as late as possible (early morning) EXACTLY BECAUSE the weather might change from what he knows the night before! I think his timing and yesterday's decision were both correct. Well done, sir.

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    2. Oh, for goodness sake. While it's been nearly 20 years since graduating high school, I can say with certainty that the vast majority of "snow days" I experienced were determined in the very early hours of that school day. Sure, it's nice to have that heads up, but let's get real: This is Michigan. The weather changes more frequently than a teenaged girl's mood.

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    3. "I might be wrong to point fingers at you as you might have more accurate information than we do as Parents of Elementary grade kids... It will be beneficial for all Parents and Kids if we have more information on the grounds when a decision is made or will be made." This statement from above makes me laugh. Of course Dr. Mathews has more information than we have. Why do parents feel they should know the how's and why's about the decision being made. They have nothing to do with it. It's his job to decide based on the what he feels is best. It is what it is, you may not like and agree with his decision, but I can't believe how many people blow it up into something so huge. Get over it people, we have a few more months of this winter weather. Move on....

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    4. LA Lark from LivoniaJanuary 10, 2015 at 12:17 AM

      I don't even have children in this district, but, I agree with the way things were handled. I walked 10 blocks to and from school EVERY day whatever the weather. Yes, it built character ! I have a very good work ethic because of it. Keep up the good work Dr. Mathews !

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  9. While education is a top priority I highly doubt that the students in Novi truly gained a major learning advantage over students in Plymouth/Canton, Northville, Walled Lake or more than 385 other schools that were closed today due to safety concerns for the students. It is clear where their priority was, and yours as well.

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  10. Shades of Bill Barr. AKA: Dr. Barr. Asst. Supt. and Supt. NCSD in the good ole' days. Novi is not International Falls, MN. Some students are not properly dressed for minus, double digit windchill temps. Even warmly dressed students are exposed while waiting at bus stops. Elementary especially.

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    1. Maybe their parents should make sure they are dressed appropriately for the weather. Dr. Matthews is not your kid's parent. You are.

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  11. Stop harrasing Dr. Mathews. It's not like the world is gonna end if we have school. He made the right call.

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  12. Majority of Oakland county schools were open today.

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  13. Many of us are fortunate enough to provide ad-hoc transportation on these bitterly cold days. The traffic backups into school in the morning are evidence of that. With global warming, and all these other countries stealing are warm air from us we are bound to see many more cold days like this. (COMEDIC RELIEF) Dress warm. Wear 4 or 5 layer's if you need to. Wear hats, scarves, hoods. I've seen a lot of under dressed and under prepared adults. Encourage your friends to dress warmly no matter what they look like. Set an example and pile on as many layers as you can. Be considerate. Be safe and dress warm. Personally, I think the decision to call a snow day should be an online vote by the parents. (More humor)

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    1. Countries don't steal warmth. The entire world is affected, so we're getting more heat too.

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  14. As a current Novi High School student, I commend you for the way you handled the situation this morning. I am proud and privileged to attend a school district under your leadership.

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  15. Nice call today use off days for worse conditions

    DL

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    1. There are six days reserved for snowdays, highly unlikely we will use those up.

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  16. Dear Dr. Mathews,
    I am not here to criticize you or attack you for making a call, however, I just want to state some facts. I know that high school kids are bigger and expectations are that they know how to dress for this kind of weather, but looking at some smaller kids I can tell you that I know in our case kids have to leave house 10min early to make it to bus stop (it takes them roughly 5min to get to the bus stop) then they will wait 10min for the bus to arrive. That is a 20min outside for little ones up to 7th grade on -20. I do not know about you but I'm 43 years old and this morning spending 10min outside I was not able to handle and I usually can handle cold pretty well. I do have question for you though-since you are leader and you made a call did you lead by an example and traveled by the bus? or I'm assuming you used your vehicle that was parked in the garage? Calls like yours have to be made we all know iit however great leader leads by example. I'm not asking you to do this all of the time but there are times like today and showing kids and your staff that you are doing it will make us more understanding as well. PS if you ever do it don't make bus driver stop 10 feet a way from your house, find out what child has the longest walk to bus stop and do the same.


    Thanks and everyone is alive and survived today I want to thank all of the teachers and stuff on Novi community schools for every day effort to give our kids best education there is.

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    1. I could not have put things better.

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    2. Well said. In Dearborn, Divine Child closed their elementary and kept the high school open. I thought that was a logical, and appropriate decision, and possibly one that other districts could adopt?

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  17. Next time you high school students want a cold day think about your Novi High School Alumni currently in college who may have to spend upwards of 25 minutes walking outside in this weather. If they can do it you can make it from your car to the school. Dr. Matthews made the right decision

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    1. True, but K-4 students are walking from their houses to school and back upwards of 30 minutes each trip. Which of course college students are clearly more physically powerful.

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  18. Well written letter above by Dr. Mathews. I totally agreed with his decision today. I honestly can not believe how many whining parents there are about their kids going to school today. A lot of people act as if Dr. Mathews is supposed to take "just your family situation" into account or the absolute worse case scenarios. First off, give him a break. I'm sure his decision is never easy as he knows he will never make everyone happy either way and he was probably up all night watching weather reports etc. (While yes, you were all sleeping waiting for your courteous call. Which still more people whine about coming in so early. I personally rather get one than have to turn on computer, check phone, etc to see if there is school) Others commented that because so many other schools closed that he should have followed suit. Well I'm glad we have a leader instead of a follower. (Btw, there were a lot of other districts open. ie: Walled Lake, Howell, Milford.)Parents really need to stop babying these kids. Most of the kids in Novi take a bus to school, they do not walk. If they are walkers, most parents drive them. If kids are not dressed appropriately for the weather, it is not the superintendents job to "dress your children". The buses all ran on time. It's amazing that it seems all the kids in the district made it through the day in one piece. Kids are so over protected by their parents that it is crazy. How are these kids going to be ready to face the "REAL" hard life situations. By the way, a lot of employers in the real world don't care about the weather when you have a job to get to.

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    1. Wow! I remember having to get up earlier than normal to watch the scrolling on the bottom of the t.v. Wrap your kids up,it's Michigan! !

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    2. Yep, or listen to the radio. And if you missed yours, you had to wait until the list came by again.

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  19. They still have it scroll from the bottom of the TV on a lot of major news networks. You're right, it is Michigan but things were right on the border from being too extreme as even while being heavily bundled the cold can still be punishing for walkers/people getting picked up from the bus. In fact, I knew many students whose cars would not even start this morning.

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    1. "I knew many students whose cars would not even start this morning." My heart bleeds for them. Poor high school students with cars that wouldn't start. Such suffering. How do they get by?

      I remember being able to count on one hand the number of students in my high school class (out of 300) who even had cars. Those of us who were lucky lived on a bus route. The rest of us walked.

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    2. Nice way to try blaming someone for broken car! Lol

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  20. Thank you for always caring for each and every student in novi. Those kids along with their parents should be embarrassed . I just wanted to say my child not only learned today in his classroom but he came home and said it was the best day ever !! Kudos to our principal and PE teacher too who , like every morning , greeted each car in the drop off line with a smile. Never once complaining about the cold. Grateful for all you do for our district .

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  21. careful of that sword, damocles!!! seems the superintendant is a creepy dude if he's out searching social media so he can issue thinly veiled threats to students (or parents?) who talked some junk.

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    1. You obviously didn't actually read his post. The 1st one was a screen shot of texts sent from a kid to their mother, who sent it to Dr. Matthews. The tweet was directed to him by the person who wrote it.

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    2. Rather why not expect people to behave more decently, avoid cyber bulllying and teach the same values to kids. Dr Mathews is doing the job parenst of these kids should be doing. So again we owe him heartfelt thanks for keeping our kids in control.

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  22. I have had four children go through the Novi School District; the reason I moved here and stayed for 30 years is because of the quality schools The roads were safe and salted this morning, the buses ran on time, and as a single parent who had to juggle a lot to get kids off in the morning if I had an early assignment, needed to carpool, or when I wasn't going to make it home for bus dropoff, my Novi neighbors were wonderful networkers, We were there for each other and made an amazing team. Backup coverage is a necessity, and if you have it on days like today, your children benefit with our nationally accredited education and learn to adapt to how things work in the world. Good job, Dr. Matthews.

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  23. I am a teacher who had to work today. I live my life for my students.I believe in providing the highest quality of education while individualized and tailored to each student, as to ensure a strong, competitive future global economy.I completely disagree with any superintendent who did not close school today. What happens when cars freeze in the parking lots on days like today and students are stranded? (What happens if those people don't have a wonderful network?) Little children should not be in this weather. It was painful to walk into the building walking from the parking lot, let alone wait out in this weather for the bus, or walk to school from the neighborhood. We should have been safe at home, off the roads, in a safe place with no potential to get stranded or frozen.On top of anyone that had issues today, it brought issues to their loved ones who also should have been home safe. Instead of commending someone who "made a tough call" (it was a tough call, because it put people in danger), the community should be urging to keep our staff and students safe. It's one thing to complain about the cold. I get that. This was not building character. Weather like this is simply dangerous. I am not ranting. I saw several problems today that this call created, and it easily could have been avoided, especially when school's are given 5-7 days a year.

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    1. I completely agree with you. I went outside for 7 minutes to walk my dog and I was bundled up with hat, gloves, boots, long coat and scarf and my exposed face was burning several minutes in to the walk. I can't imagine standing out on bus stops or walking 1.5 miles to school. I can't believe the parents who are congratulating Dr. Matthews. How did he make the right call? We were fortunate that there was not a major safety issue. A bus breakdown or a child being injured and everyone would be vilifying Dr. Matthews. When a decision is so questionable, why would we NOT err on the side of caution and ensure that our children's safety is first and foremost considered? Everyone does not have the flexibility to drive their children or have a great network. We should always consider those most vulnerable when making decisions. That is the marker of a great leader. Sorry Dr. Matthews, but I think you got this one wrong.

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    2. How many kids died?
      None?
      Seems like a good call then.

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    3. Your standards are pretty low. Seriously. Just because there wasn't an issue doesn't mean there couldn't have been. When over 300 other districts are concerned about their student's safety enough to cancel school, why isn't Novi?

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    4. As stated by a previous commentator, there were several issues, many students cars were unable to start, many students simply "ditched" class, there were several accidents all over the Oakland County as well. Sure no NHS students died, but again, if a superintendent will open school until a student dies he may face some serious charges.

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    5. If you read the list of other districts you will note that most are one school charters. Don't compare yourself to one school charters in Detroit. They aren't in your class, and you should be glad. Schools that cancelled the night before should be embarrassed of themselves.

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    6. I can't believe the person above is an actual teacher. You are whining because you had to get out of bed and go to your job and it was cold out? Oh boo hoo.. It is one thing to say it was too cold for the kids, etc. but to say YOU should have been safe at home and off the roads, That it was so cold for you to walk across a parking lot. Lol! To funny. How did the thousands of other businesses open up that day. I wonder how their employees all made it to work and walked from a parking lot to their building. A lot of whiny people who are going to raise whiny kids. Just like the spoiled rude brat that wrote the text to her mother that started this whole thing. She cried for 20 min she stated because she had to go to school. That poor girl has no clue that there will be tougher things in life that you want to cry over. Lets move on people. It is over and done with.

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    7. Since this closing-school-because-it's-too-cold has become somewhat the norm over the past couple of years, are we going to start closing school because it's too hot? It can be really hot in the Fall. Kids could get heatstroke. What if the AC in their car doesn't work? Wow, I can see the danger, danger, Will Smith. Seriously? If you, as a parent, don't think it's safe to send your child, then don't do it. Otherwise, make the arrangement you need to make to get them there safely and quit the whining. Honestly - this just amazes me.

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    8. What basis would you use to make this call? We had several days last year with worse conditions yet we were in school. Is the criteria the number of days you "get off"? Seems like a pretty weak arguement. His criteria is valid. It was 5 degrees. Windchill is only if there was wind blowing, CONSTANTLY on EXPOSED skin. Otherwise, it was 5 degrees. It was the correct call. I think most of the other districts took a long weekend without basis. Only those districts with rural commuters on rural road cleanup were justified; and that would be due to snow conditions not the temperature. I fully support the Novi district call.

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  24. Did he walk the talk and walk from the farthest distance in basic clothing to the school like a child would have had be in a worest case situation? Or was this letter written in an at home office? Or was this written upon arriving in a warm heated building after getting in a nice luxury car that was warmed up using auto start in a attached heated garage to a nice warm home?

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  25. Lots of anonymous comments here.

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  26. We ALL pay taxes. Last I checked school was for ALL children, not just those who can bundle their young kids up, or those that are 'privileged'enough to be able to drive their children. Since when did a snow day become an 'important life lesson' on employment for elementary children? Get real. Half the time it sounds like parents are more worried about being inconvenienced or almost 'jealous' little Jimmy gets a snow day and they don't, boo hoo. Really. These are extreme cold temps. All it takes is one poor kid, or one error in these temps.

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  27. Sounds more like a problem with the parents if you ask me. If you disagree with the call then keep your kid home. Really simple. You are the final decision on the well being of your kid. Keeping the school open gave you an option, you didn't have to take it. If you disagreed with the "School" and you sent your kid, you're a horrible parent.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Completely, totally, 100% agreed!!

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    3. "Voice of Sanity" - problem is my kid would be unexcused and unable to make up work. Then you're gonna end up dealing with Mr. Downtalker anyway

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    4. I wish we could "like" comments on here!

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  28. "I would urge you to use caution and to think while you Tweet, post, and communicate via social media."

    Advice that most adults, not just children, would be wise to listen to follow.

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    1. Not while, but BEFORE. Be fully 100% committed to backing your mouth and crushing herd minded short sided incorrect trolls - both virtually and in the real world.

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  29. Just curious, did anyone get frostbite or was anyone harmed from going to school this day??? If not, then looks like everyone figured it out and it all turned out fine, no more need for the arguments and what if's.

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    1. I know several students whose cars were not able to start on the even of the possible cold day. They ended up coming in many hours late.

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    2. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were some communal means of transportation, so that students would not have to worry about the vagaries of temperature and the idiosyncrasies of private vehicles?

      Oh wait........busses!

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    3. Haha! Exactly!

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  30. I do not live in your school district, nor have I ever lived there. I just happened upon this posting and was caught up in the silliness of it all. Kudo's to Dr. Mathews for making the right call. Times have certainly changed. I grew up in South Lyon and attended school there. South Lyon then, was a predominately rural area and you weren't picked up at your front door every morning. Not only that, school was NEVER called off for cold weather, and it better snow at least 8-10 inches or you were going to school. As all kids, we prayed for the free days, listened for the closings that hardly ever happened, and believe it or not WE PULLED THROUGH. Nobody died, nobody froze to death, and most parents didn't warm up their car for you to sit in. ITS WINTER! Dress properly for the weather, not for fashion. And for goodness sake, its your PARENTS responsibility to see that that happens, not your school teachers and administrators. Maybe if we didn't have all these new parenting ideas, your teachers and administrators wouldn't have to spend all this time explaining it to YOU.

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    1. I know you're not from Novi, but bus drop offs and at least some pickups happen outside of the neighborhood, so depending on what neighborhood you live in it could be half a mile there and back. The Superintendent should be held accountable for at least some credit if there is harm done to a student, ultimately it's his call and we're paying over $175k+ worth of tax money to do so. (Not saying he doesn't do more)

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  31. If you, as a parent, disagree with the superintendent and think it's too dangerous for your child to make it to school safely then don't send them. Good grief. I can't stand whiny parents!!!!

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    1. Missing school when it's required is bad, for one, too many absences could result in not receiving credit for your classes, also, just for missing a day while others are out learning you will be left behind others.

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    2. Finally! I have been waiting for this reply and I agree 100%! Nothing more need be said :) Good day.

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    3. And I can't stand people like you who troll.

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  32. I don't think the issue here is the call. It's the response to the call - - from our children. SHAMEFUL! I would have NEVER thought of sending something like that to an authority figure at that age. Will they give his word of caution about using social media any consideration. I'm sure they were tweeting immediately about it. I'm truly afraid for our future. Rudeness and disrespect is what this word has in store.

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    1. You're right...it comes from parents who won't say it. It's up to the parents to grab some passion, light Mr. Downtalker up, and replace him. It's the only true way people like him get the message.

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  33. I think Mr. Matthews made the right call; I also think Dr. is a term reserved for the people in the healthcare field, not that are in charge of school district opening day speeches and deciding on whether or not to call a snow day. Go Cats!

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    1. I believe you are confusing Dr. with M.D.

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    2. ANYONE who receives a "Doctorate Degree" has the right to be call a Dr. regardless of the job!

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  34. I support Mr. Matthews.
    If any parents thought it is not safe, they can choose to stay at home with their kids. Nobody will bother.
    Why complain?
    If school was closed, everybody had to take one day off, no choice.

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  35. No. This is not about the calling of the snow day. This is a lesson he is trying to communicate to the students, he's saying the fact that these comments are posted on social media WILL get them in serious trouble in the real world. He is not defending the call in any way (nor should he, this is your child's education you are being lazy about.) It's an attempt to show the young adult students to be aware that posts on social media are public, and will never go away. I applaud you, sir.

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    1. ^^^ Totally agree!!!

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  36. Everyone seems to be complaining about the weather being too cold for the kids to be out in to get to school...but how many of them already were making plans to go to the mall, or a movie or drive to a friends house to hang out if school was cancelled? If its too cold out, should they be doing those things either? Our district is part of the Oakland County group with Novi and we had school too. I have a child that walks quite a distance at 6:40 am for the bus and I made sure she had layers and gloves, scarf and a hat. It is Michigan, it is winter and it just started. Get over it people!

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  37. I'll bet none of them would have complained if it was closed because it was HOT! Give them all the days off they want and make them stay in school until August and see how the cry baby parents feel when they can't go on their vacations to Cancun! Better yet let them make up all those OFF DAYS in their Senior year BEFORE they can graduate.

    We baby our children so much that they turn out to be the idiots that call in sick on Mondays because they watched football on Sunday and got drunk. They are the ones who grow up thinking they should be rewarded for everything they do even if they do nothing. They are the clowns who think its funny to write graffiti on the bathroom wall at work and cry when they get fired for it. They are the ones who can't walk to the mailbox for the mail so wait for someone else to do. They will be the ones who call the boss and tell them its too cold to come to work because they haven't learned any responsibilities thanks to their upbringing. Wake up parents get a grip on reality!

    GREAT CALL Dr. Mathews...

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  38. This was not a good decision. Thank God nothing happened and they all made it to school safely, but what if something had happened? A generator froze and burst, kids slip and fall and break something, etc. One day would not have hurt anyone. Yes, it is a privilege to receive an education, but when it comes at the cost of possibly receiving frostbite or a different frozen injury, there should be a pass. If 380 other schools closed, then why shouldn't Novi have done the same? No, it's not a "bandwagon" thing, it's a safety thing.

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    1. You can play the "what if" game all day. Bottom line is nothing happened. Kids got to and from school safely. My 8th grader was personally ok with it, because as he put it, he was happy just to get his math midterm over with.

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    2. As someone who has a much younger child in my home, it was 100% about power and NOT safety.

      Stop being nice to authority figures who do dangerous things. Being too nice is why Democrats lose. You have to get right up in people like Matthews faces. Otherwise, they disrespect you. Anyone who didn't interpret that 'letter' as F*** you everyone need ninth grade remedial English lessons.

      You either stand up for yourself or you take a lot of crap. That's this country's problem. We collectively take too much crap from people like Matthews who chooses to disrespect and demean himself.

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  39. I think it is funny how many parents and geez, even teachers are complaining about having had to go to school when all over FB other parents in other districts were complaining that their kids had the day off and they felt they should have had school. I can't tell you how many parents posted pictures of their kids playing out in the snow on their "snow day". That is crazy! Too cold to go to school, but not too cold to play outside? Everyone needs to stop whining like Dr. Mathews tried to kill your children.

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    1. That would be outlandish. It's not outlandish for Matthews to belittle his students and his parental community. I love how trolls like you use the word 'whine'.

      People who use this word are usually the same type who use it in a shield fashion because they are trolling. Everyone has an opinion. It's just not always right.

      In my opinion, Matthews should have been brief in his decision and said nothing else.

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  40. What a horrible message to stifle the freedom of speech of your students. To threaten them to 'watch what they say' on social media when it is a legitimate complaint. Of course students will smile at you when you are walking around the school, and you believe it to be genuine? When in actually the students, teachers, and staff can't wait for your presents to be gone. You did not make a tough decision, but a controlling, male, testosterone driven, "I am in control" decision. I am sure you get some sick pleasure knowing you are in control of so many lives, and you get off on seeing others stuck in your control, that is why you took the job to begin with; men are naturally that way. Whether consciously or subconsciously you were walking around the school on that freezing day to absorb your small victory of controlling so many with a smirk on your face I am sure. Your letter is bogus, threatening, and I agree with your students. Students who had no choice but to walk to and from school suffered and yet you are so arrogant.

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    1. Posting anonymous messages containing obscenities is cyberbullying......that needs to be curtailed. I am sure you wont tolerate similar message for you ....from your own kid. It can be well tolerated when it is directed at others, right ?
      Do you have something against males in general ?

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    2. Horrible third class writing. Hopefully your children are not reading it. So sad!

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  41. It is difficult for any administrator to call school off because of weather. I think that the State may have some bearing on that - their requirements for hours spent in school have become problematic for some districts to justify "calling school off." However, I wonder how many of these same administrators have ever been subjected to waiting outside for 10 minutes, or longer, under a wind chill of -5, -10 or -20F... The superintendent may have a different perspective if he did. A 190 pound adult vs. a 40 pound kid should play into the decision. Sorry, I know a lot plays into it, but sometimes, the kids are right ... I would have a hard time justifying sending kids out into that kind weather.

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  42. My kids are not in this district but we had school also. I kept mine home. If you don't think it is safe for your children, then make the grown up decision to keep them home with you. Yes, michigan winters are cold but we get snow days for a reason too. I think -20 is a low enough temp to cancel school.

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    1. it was not -20. It was 5 degrees! Wind chill is not the temperature! We were in school last year have a January with this temperature!

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  43. I am amused. I grew up in SE MI, and Novi was still a "farm". Where I live now (Northern MN), the kids are not allowed recess if it is -20, and sometimes school is cancelled when it reaches -50...sometimes. No winter wimps here! Bundle up and suck it up buttercup!

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  44. My gosh people. If you feel your kids were going to be unsafe, keep them home. You are allowed to make that decision. Call them in sick and it will be considered excused. If they are not in High School it is not a big deal if they lose a day of school. If they are in High School they can find out what the homework was from their friends and do it. We are not raising a bunch of dummies in this town. Use your brains.

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  45. 1) Congrats Dr Mathews for taking this tough decision.
    2) To those who are complaining, we as parents need to prepare our kids for real worlds, where you dont get snow days. As an educator myself, I find many kids are brought up as previleged individuals, not ready to flourish in the real world. How will you like your doc to call it off just before the scheduled surgery, coz its too cold for him to drive to work.
    3) Its extra work for us as parents to dress kids up according to weather, but its worth. The knowledge and learning they receive at Novi district schools is topclass for some reason.
    4) And not to ignore the fact that many households will suffer financially, short -term or long-term due to unexpected closure of schools.

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  46. As a student who has gone through standing AND walking 20-30 minutes in -20 degree weather, I disagree the call was entirely justified. Sure, a great majority of working adults have cars, and can drive in cold weather, whereas many elementary-high school students rely on standing 10-15 minutes waiting for a bus, walking to school, or riding a bike if weather conditions agree. I went to a high school that made very little calls off school for weather, and it was brutal. As a college student now, I walk to class in Michigan winter weather with no cancellations, and it is truly painful to walk in. Am I someone who doesn't dress properly? Absolutely not. I wear scarves, and gloves, cover my ears, wear a hat, wear boots, and a long parka... still, my legs go numb and so does my face from walking 30 minutes. Sometimes, a call should be made. Just because a teacher and superintendent can drive in a warm car, think of the students who can't do that.

    I understand in the "real world" that there are no such things as cold days--agreed. And I understand preparing children for the "real world" makes sense, but a cancellation of school will not teach kids anything, but that it's safer for them not to stand outside on a particular day. Kids won't be thinking of the lesson when they're freezing outside.

    (Also, the slam on social media--how about teach your students to speak their minds. We all have an opinion, just as everyone in this comment section. I am not saying there is a right OR wrong answer to this decision, simply stating that more consideration should take place in the future other than just teaching children a mediocre lesson.)

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