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Staten Island Teen Starts Facebook Page Urging City To Close Schools In Severe Snow

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Jeremy Duenas

Staten Island high school student Jeremy Duenas started a Facebook page urging the city to close schools during snow emergencies. (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Staten Island teen was one of many people who thought Mayor Bill de Blasio made the wrong call on Thursday by keeping schools open during the snowstorm.

High school freshman Jeremy Duenas created a Facebook page calling out politicians for their decisions.

The “Close NYC Schools During Snow Emergencies” page had more than 50,000 likes as of Friday night. Other students and even teachers have shared their opinions and photos.

“If it’s not safe to drive and it’s a snow emergency how are our children suppose(d) to get on a bus or walk? Is that safe? Think about it…” wrote Demetria Plevritis. “I mean if it’s just a few inches of powder one thing we have tons of ice and expecting rain and ice this is not safe for children. Close schools it doesn’t make sense don’t u have snow days built into school calendar… Use them.”

“I’m sorry but we are educators not babysitters,” wrote Nicholena Lovett. “We shouldn’t risk the lives of our students and teachers because parents have to go to work.”

But some on the page defended the idea to keep the schools open.

“Schools have to be open a minimum of 180 days per year, but whether to send your kids out in bad weather is a parental decision. Keeping the school open, even if not one single kid shows up, prevents the need for make-up days in June,” wrote Carolyn Bunkley.

Duenas said the overall popularity is proof that schools should have been closed.

“The state was put into a state of emergency, and everyone was referred to stay off the roads. But yet, students were still expected to go to school,” Duenas told CBS 2. “I hope next time, they get it right.”

Duenas generated all the buzz by posting on City Council members’ Facebook pages. People who followed the politicians saw his post and liked his page.

Students and parents were faced with gusting winds and blowing snow during Thursday’s storm that brought nearly 10 inches of snow to the city. Almost every other school district in the region was closed.

And to top it off, during a brief lull in the storm during Mayor de Blasio’s news conference Thursday, schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said, “It’s absolutely a beautiful day out there right now.”

The mayor said many parents depend on schools to watch over their children while they are at work and made the call Wednesday night not to cancel classes, saying the storm came in faster than the National Weather Service predicted.

The administration said they take several factors into account when deciding whether or not to close schools and cited Thursday’s warmer temperatures and the fact that mass transit was operating well.

“We knew, based on the reports of the National Weather Service, that we could have as little as three inches of snow on ground by the time kids walked in the door of our schools and we could have more – we could have four or five or more,” de Blasio told reporters Thursday. “It was a gray situation.”

The National Weather Service declined to comment on the mayor’s remark Thursday, but told CBS 2 the forecast was “upgraded to a winter storm warning on Tuesday night” saying New York City could get six to 12 inches of snow.

Mayor de Blasio cancelled a scheduled press conference Friday, and his office said it had no “immediate update to provide” on the weather.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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