School Criticized for Holding Class Without Power

Students worked outside or in well-lit areas with books, paper and pens

By Nicole Gonzales and R. Stickney
|  Thursday, Mar 28, 2013  |  Updated 9:27 AM PDT
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After a power outage affected classes at a Hillcrest elementary school, parents questioned the decision to continue classes. The superintendent told NBC 7 there was no reason to cancel class for the day. NBC 7's Nicole Gonzales reports.

After a power outage affected classes at a Hillcrest elementary school, parents questioned the decision to continue classes. The superintendent told NBC 7 there was no reason to cancel class for the day. NBC 7's Nicole Gonzales reports.

A San Diego-area elementary school’s decision to hold class despite a power outage drew criticism Wednesday.

The power outage lasted nearly 24 hours and affected 3,000 customers near Hillcrest including students and teachers at Florence Elementary.

Daniel Hall walked his 4th grader to school Wednesday but decided to take him out an hour later, citing safety concerns.

“The bells weren't working. There's no electricity. Can't call into the school. Can't call out. The phone system is down. Everything's down,” Hall said.

Hall said there was no emergency system in place if something were to happen.

School administrators told NBC 7 that safety wasn’t compromised at all.

The director of the after-school program said students were taught in well-lit areas or outside.

Instead of computers, teachers brought out books, paper and pencils.

It was an inconvenience for 5th grader Zora Williams who was working on her project about the Revolutionary War.

“We were supposed to do it online, but we couldn't so we had to do it from our social studies book,” Williams said.

Grandmother Patricia Jackson-Haynes didn’t see the reason for parents to be alarmed.

“I think if it were a concern, the first thing the school would have done was to call the parents,” she said.

“They have everybody's home numbers, cell numbers, second contacts. So I don't think there was a concern to pick somebody up or close the school.”

Hall said when he called the superintendent's office about the outage, they told him there was no reason to cancel class for the day.

San Diego Gas & Electric blamed a faulty underground power line for the outage.

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