Fargo Superintendent Rupak Gandhi is taking the heat today for his decision to send kids to school in a blizzard.
Parents are lashing out at the school leader for not realizing just how bad the conditions really were and for keeping school open in Fargo, despite surrounding districts making the call to cancel.
I did a little of that this morning, too, as I watched one of my kids nearly tip over in the wind as he waddled his way up to the school doors. I even posted an Instagram video story of the kids blowing into school and captioned it: “I do not feel OK dropping my kids off at school in the early hours of a blizzard … What gives, Fargo? #whydowelivehere”
So yes, Gandhi made a bad call.
I'm guessing it didn't take him long to realize that. Not long after kids arrived at school, they announced school would be dismissed at 11 a.m.
“In hindsight, I would have made a different decision, but this morning, I made a decision with the information I had at the time the decision was made,” Gandhi said in a Friday morning letter to parents, students and staff.
But in all of this, Gandhi did something right, too. And if we -- including the 8 a.m. version of me -- step back for a moment, we will see the teaching moment.
Gandhi did exactly what we would hope for our children in the same situation: When you make a mistake, acknowledge the error and say you're sorry.
"I will continue to make the best decision I can with the information I have at the time, and as always, learn from today's events to make future decisions," Gandhi wrote. "I personally apologize for the inconvenience and angst resulting from my decisions today."
I respect that.
He could have dug in his heels or said nothing at all. Worse he could have been stubborn and kept the kids in school. But he didn't. He stepped up and was humble.
Isn't that the kind of message we want to teach our kids? I know I do.
This morning was a hassle for so many. Superintendents are in a tough spot and run the risk of parents complaining no matter the decision. I wouldn’t want that job, would you?
In the end, we can just hope student safety always comes first. Mother Nature is an unpredictable beast and we are almost certain to be in this exact position a few weeks from now.
Today was a lesson for all of us.