Thousands of students in the Long Island school district of Hempstead saw classes canceled on the first day back after the holidays because of cold-related problems.
A pipe burst in the cold temperatures at Hempstead High School, causing flooding; at nearby Prospect Street school for kindergartners, another pipe fell prey to the frigid temperatures; and the heat failed at Front Street Elementary School.
Three thousand students were sent home as a result. High school parent Victoria Colbreath claims the district notified parents too late, forcing many kids to walk home in the cold.
"Students and parents could have avoided being out in these unsafe conditions had there been proper communication," said Colbreath.
Carmea Ayala, who represents a group critical of the Hempstead schools' administration, claims poor building maintenance helped create the entire mess.
In a statement, the district said crews are working to address the issues and that the safety of students and teachers remains a top priority.