LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish School Board decided to cancel classes across the district on Friday, citing the extremely cold and rare weather as the reason.
"I just thought that it would be in the best interest of all of our children to not have school ," says Calcasieu School Superintendent Wayne Savoy.
Savoy says the district was particularly concerned about the health and safety of the 17,000 school children who ride the school bus and the 4,000 others who walk to school. Temperatures hovered below freezing Friday morning at around the time most students would have normally been walking to school or waiting at the bus stop . The wind chill made it feel even colder, well into the teens.
Most of the parents 7 News spoke with agreed with the district's decision to cancel classes.
"It's nice to know that they care enough to not let the kids stand outside at the bus stops," said parent Tija White.
"I think it was a good idea," said Pierre Malbus. "Because if something would have happened [to one of the kids the district] would have been in trouble, so it was good and preventative."
Yvonne Saucier says her grandchildren, ages 14 and 15, were probably strong enough to stand outside at the bus stop for a few minutes, but Saucier says she was concerned about younger children.
"It would be difficult for them waiting on the corner," said Saucier. "A lot of them don't have decent coats that are warm."
But not everyone agreed with the district's decision to close school.
"When I was coming up, we had to go to school in the cold. We had to go stand in line at the bus stop and wait for the bus in the cold and we lived through it," said Sulphur resident Emma Black. "Why have heaters in the schools and on the buses if they aren't going to use them? I'm not saying they have to go outside for recess but they can still go to school."
District officials say principals will monitor their schools over the weekend to make sure pipes don't freeze.
Be sure to watch KPLC 7 News over the weekend or visit this web site for the latest updates on schools closings.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Have your say about closing schools because of the cold weather on KPLC's Hot Topic Blog.