Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing a storm of criticism for his decision to keep schools open Thursday and that criticism is coming not just from parents and teachers. Many of the Mayor's allies spoke out against him for the first time and a celebrity TV weatherman even chimed in. Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
The decision was made before the storm even started and the criticism has been unrelenting ever since.
“On a day like this the schools should have been closed. There was no excuse,” said a parent.
“It was just a really big mess, staff wasn't there,” said a student.
“It's just an epic fail,” said another parent. “It should have never happened.”
Thursday morning, the Mayor spent more than an hour defending his call.
“You make decisions based on the information you have and you have to weigh a lot of factors,” said de Blasio.
Then, in the middle of the most tense news conference de Blasio has faced since taking office, his schools chancellor made her first public blunder.
“By the way, just coming down here, it has totally stopped snowing. It is absolutely a beautiful day out there right now,” said Chancellor Carmen Fariña.
That was at 11 a.m., just as snow was turning to rain. complicating rather than clearing conditions in many parts of the city. The comment only seemed to fuel the backlash, much of which came through social media, including a critical Facebook page with more than 20,000 "likes" by the end of the school day.
Several of de Blasio's supporters were among the critics: including the teachers union president, the principal’s union president, the public advocate and, eventually, the City Council speaker.
Soon after dodging a NY1 reporter, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a close de Blasio ally, said the mayor made a mistake.
And then there was Al Roker, who blasted the mayor in a series of tweets sent from Sochi.
“Talk about a bad prediction. Long range DiBlasio forecast: 1 term,” reads the tweet.
The mayor and chancellor say they plan what they're calling a new protocol so the public can better understand their thinking on snow day decisions.
“As a teacher, one of the things I learned early on is that you learn your lessons every day. So lessons learned,” said Fariña.
But even with schools open, there weren't many lessons being learned Thursday. Fewer than 45 percent of students made it in to school and many who did say their teachers did not.