The Heart of Nashua with Joan Stylianos: Pampered kids and 14 extra minutes

It was another missed day of school for Nashua students last week.

The prediction was for 6 to 10 inches along a wide swath of the Granite State and possibly less for the Gate City.

Superintendents across the state had to make the call.

“There are too many variables to consider for students,” Nashua Superintendent of Schools Jahmal Mosley tweeted on social media.

Nashua chose to cancel on Tuesday evening, which had me thinking back to the old days when kids had to tough it out and head to class. Many of us walked to and from school; there weren’t as many bus routes at the time.

My brothers and I set out on foot to the James B. Crowley Elementary School in all kinds of weather, but we were lucky because the school was only a 10-minute walk away.

My walks to junior high — to the old Spring Street school by the Nashua Post Office — were farther. My classmates and I even endured double sessions at the old Elm Street school as the new high school was being built.

Upperclassmen went at 7 a.m. and were out by noon. I went at 12:30 and was out by 5:30, if memory serves. We were squeezed in like sardines, but we all managed.

As the old A&P grocery store parking lot got plowed, I recall two huge pyramid-shaped mountains of snow piled high in the lot as we walked to school.

Some brave kids would scale the high mounds, which was a dangerous activity, but somehow, again, we all managed.

If we were lucky, we got “early dismissal” in bad snowstorms.

We had snow days but nothing like students see today, which brings me to my humble opinion: I realize safety is the priority, but are we pampering today’s children a bit much?

On that Wednesday when school was canceled, the snow hadn’t even begun to fall until after 11 a.m. I had popped into a downtown pharmacy where I noticed a young boy hanging around the checkout aisles talking to customers. He proudly announced that school was canceled but admitted it was barely snowing. He laughed that an early dismissal would have made more sense.

He was 12 years old and told me he was in favor of the extended school day that the Board of Education had recently voted 6-2 in favor of. That would mean an extra seven minutes to the beginning of the day and another seven minutes to the end of the day. It would allow the district to make up some of the snow days and would have gone into effect on Feb. 5.

The 1,600-member Nashua Teachers Union, however, gave the idea the thumbs down, voting against the extended 14-minute proposal.

Some folks were against extending the classroom day because it would have disrupted their children’s after-school activities. Others vented on social media that getting their kids up even earlier would have had an impact.

Really? Seven minutes earlier is the end of the world?

I believe the city has used up to six snow days. At this point, that pushes the last day of school to June 21, according to my math.

Students better pray that Punxsutawney Phil was wrong, or they could be attending school in July.

The old groundhog saw his shadow on Feb. 2, predicting another six weeks of winter and, possibly, more missed school days.