Too Cool At School? Some Concerned About Students Being Outside in the Cold

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - As temperatures continue to dip some parents are raising concerns about their kids being outside before school, during recess, and other parts of the school day. Now, District 51 wants to clear the air on its cold weather policies.

To cool at school? Cozette Wheeler thinks it is. She says her daughter, who goes to Fruitvale Elementary, has complained to her about having to wait outside in the mornings before the school lets students in.

"Yesterday she was almost crying when I took her to school," said Wheeler. "She was shivering, she was huddled up against my leg and she said why can't we go inside? I'm cold mama."

To make matters more interesting, she says, her other daughter who goes to Mt. Garfield Middle was forced to stay inside because of the cold. District 51 says there's a simple explanation for that.

"The question is always is there a district policy that guides schools when the weather gets cold, and there really isn't," said Jeff Kirtland, spokesperson for School District 51.

Instead, that decision lies with the principals of each individual school.

"School principals know their communities," said Kirtland. "They know what to expect, they can work closely with students' needs."

District officials say their principals monitor the temperature and wind chill daily, and many have implemented policies about attire if students are going to be outside in the cold.

"Schools really will say if a kid is cold they can come inside," said Kirtland.

Still, Wheeler would like to see something more uniform.

"They need to have a plan and a policy on this and there needs to a set temperature that each school brings the kids in at," said Wheeler.

Other parents say they have no problem with their kids being outside on cooler days.

"I think as long as they're bundled up they're good to go," said Sashwa Cleveland. "They're going to play outside at home anyways."

"I believe in that philosophy, 60 minutes of outside play a day for kids," said Raymond Smithson. "I believe that's very true."

Still more believe there's room for some middle ground. Sommer Padgett posted the following comment on the KKCO NBC 11 News Facebook page:

"My kid loves to play outside. I don't want her to be told she can't. But if it gets too cold, I'd like her to have the option to go back inside."

District officials say if parents have any input on how a school handles in the issue, the best thing they can do is contact that school's principal directly.

"If kids are cold, if they have issues, medical issues, or other concerns parents need to communicate that to the principals," said Kirtland. "In those cases, kids are allowed to come into the school building."

Officials say if providing a coat to a child is an issue for a family, there are programs available within the district where one can be donated to them.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by me Location: co on Jan 14, 2011 at 11:00 PM
    I would be a worried parent if I seen that Ray guy and the other man he was with hanging outside my childs school. He looked and sounded like he was on drugs.
  • by KindergartenMom Location: GJ on Jan 10, 2011 at 09:49 PM
    My daughter attends morning kindergarten at Fruitvale (the same time as the little girl mentioned in the story). She wears a coat, mittens, and sometimes a hat (its up to her if she wants to wear it) and I drop her off 5-10 minutes before the bell rings. Not a single complaint about the cold from her yet. If she had complained about it, I would have talked to her teacher, then the principal or vice principal, then someone at the district and so on until I could make someone listen. This process would take longer than one day (which is how long they were "forced out in the cold" before this story aired). And you can bet money that I would have been at this month's PTA meeting... oh wait! I was, and this mother was NOT, nor were any of her "supporters". If you have a concern, voice it appropriately without searching out your 15 minutes of fame. Fruitvale teachers and administration are easily accesible and extremely easy to work with. I support them 100%. Thank you Fruitvale Faculty!
  • by j Location: grand junction on Jan 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM
    In every school that I've been in as a sub, the kids all have access to the cafeteria instead of being outside.
  • by Twila Location: O Mesa on Jan 8, 2011 at 10:00 PM
    @ Interesting... They ARE monsters. Wake up and smell the coffee.....
  • by Interesting??? Location: Grand Junction on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:44 PM
    Interesting that this news station was the only one that did not edit this story so bad that Fruitvale teachers,staff and administrators looked like monsters. Interesting that I bet this parent chose not to speak to any of the Fruitvale administators before going to the news. Interesting that I agree with another posting that I'm sure these "concerned parents" get involved with the "actual educational side of school" instead of the "daycare side " of school. Here's something interesting...if you don't like what's happening with your children's education (academically or daycare wise)then get involved DIRECTLY with the school and SUPPORT your teachers. Join PTA, volunteer, and actually voice your concerns to your teachers,staff and adminstrators. Many teachers work on the weekends, stay late to tutor and even spend their own money to help educate your children. RESPECT AND SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN'S SCHOOL!!!
  • by Anne Location: Clifton on Jan 8, 2011 at 08:55 AM
    Once again, this channel has done a fantastic job of twisting the truth in favor of the institution. You people have no idea what the real issue is here. It is not one womans kid or kids in one school. It is the district officials refusing to step up and make policies that SHOULD be there and actually EARN the salaries you pay them.
  • by Linda Location: Grand Junction on Jan 7, 2011 at 07:15 PM
    For years now I have watched children in School Dist # 51 be emotionally abused by teachers,principals and a superintendent.Well that's about to come to a halt.There is going to be a Facebook page called,"Clean up Dist 51 and I'm telling all that I know about it (my late husband worked in the district for 15 years.)He wittnessed coruption,missuse of money,stealing the money and other things that the public should have been told years ago.Other people who worked in the district can post on FB and tell all they know also.Our schools belong to the taxpayers,not the district or the teachers or principals,so why should small children be left out in the cold to freeze while the grown ups stay inside where it is warm? You seem to forget that the parents of these children are paying your wages.So get your asses out there with the kids if you think it's ok for them to be out there.The district office should have to post a monthly sheet that the public can look at that accounts for every penny.
  • by just wondering Location: gj on Jan 6, 2011 at 04:57 PM
    I am curious if the lady complaining went to the principal with this "concern"? Is this lady taking her child to school before 8:30? Is this lady not dressing her child warm enough? or did she want attention and run to the media?
  • by KGTeacher Location: Grand Junction on Jan 6, 2011 at 04:50 PM
    Where are these "concerened parents" at school meetings or volunteering in their children's classrooms? I guess they would rather run to the media and complain about their cold children who should have on appropriate winter clothing, instead of really trying to be a part of their children's education.
  • by MommaC on Jan 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM
    really? Too cold? Maybe if the kids wore clothes to keep them warm it wouldn't be an issue. I can't count how many times I have taken my son to school and watch kids standing at the bus stops in 11 degree weather, wearing only a light zip-up hoodie. Come'on people parent your children would you??
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