Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to keep New York City public schools open Thursday during a massive snow-and-sleet storm triggered a testy Twitter exchange with gregarious weatherman Al Roker.
The NBC and Weather Channel forecaster lobbed the first shot::
Two hours later, he complained again:
He quickly added:
Then Roker fumed:
Roker then tweaked de Blasio by pointing out that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had declared a state of emergency:
Finally, he pointed out that the National Weather Service forecast was accurate:
Asked about the tweeted tirade at a news conference, the mayor got in his own blast: "It’s a different thing to run a city than to give weather on TV," Business Insider
Roker fired back on Twitter:
The city's Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina also got people riled up by declaring it "a beautiful day," ABC News
The Department of Education reported public school attendance came in at an anemic 44.65 percent; that compares with about a 47 percent attendance during a Jan. 22 snowstorm, ABC News reported.
Roker wasn't alone in his criticism.
"I understand the desire to keep schools open," United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement, ABC News reported. "The only thing that trumps that is safety. Having students, parents and staff traveling in these conditions was unwarranted. It was a mistake to open schools today."
Still, the mayor staunchly defended the decision at his news conference, noting families depend on schools for "a safe place" not only to learn but one where "they get nutrition and ... are safe from the elements."
"So as long as we know our kids can get to school safely, and we know we can operate our schools effectively, we make that decision," he said. "It is a rarity, and it's something we do not do lightly."
According to ABC News, Farina told reporters: "Damned if you do, damned if you don't."
"If people can go to work, then kids can to school," she said. "Many of our kids don't get a hot lunch and, in many cases breakfast, unless they go to school. So it's still a parent's decision whether they send their kids to school or not. My decision is where the kids are safest and the most taken care of, and the answer to that is in schools."
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