Message from the Superintendent - Student absences and ongoing fire incident
03.19.19 - 6:30 p.m.
The following message was sent to all Deer Park ISD parents tonight using the District's Skylert parent communication system.
THIS IS A MESSAGE FROM DEER PARK ISD:
I am writing to share another update about Deer Park ISD’s response to the ongoing industrial fire in our area.
As you know, we held school today, and over 10,000 students were in attendance. We are certainly aware of the concerns that some parents have shared with us today regarding student safety. I want to stress that our decisions for today were made based on the information we received from a variety of emergency agencies.
Our perspective is that our students will be at home or at school, and either location is a safe environment. Regardless of the decisions we will make in the following days regarding whether or not we will hold school, parents always have the choice of allowing their children to attend school or keeping them home. Also, once children are at school, if parents feel that circumstances have changed, they always have the option of picking up their children.
There have been a wide variety of rumors during the last two days, and they have spread quickly through our community and schools. These rumors ranged from mandatory evacuation to another shelter in place order to State Highway 225 being on fire. All of these and many more proved to be untrue.
However, we are fully aware of the stress and anxiety that are caused by these types of rumors, especially when they involve events like the one taking place to our north.
Please know that any decision we make for the duration of the event weighs completely on the side of student safety.
Yesterday, we shared several criteria that informed our decision to have school today. They included air quality testing, emergency management information sources, weather reports regarding wind direction, and the dynamics at the site. These facts will continue to be the basis of future decisions, which will be made on a day-to-day basis.
We are aware that not everyone will be in agreement. If you choose to keep your child home, that is your prerogative. But we believe that, if we decide to hold school, the classroom is the best place for your child to be. And if you choose to keep your child home, he or she will be counted absent, but there will be no consequences with the exception of the child missing instruction.
Please continue to monitor the situation on local news media, and remember to keep our first responders in your thoughts and prayers. Our hope is that we can all work together as a community to safely reach the end of this situation.
Victor E. White, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools