SAISD Closes Schools Due to Lack of Weather Preparedness
We at Centro-SWU are disappointed by the complete and utter lack of leadership at SAISD in preparing for a natural disaster. The areas that the district covers are the most vulnerable areas in San Antonio. They are the poorest and they hold the majority of the homes without weatherization and without heating or cooling. Children should not be cold in schools. Schools are places where a child can go to rely on heat and cooling. It’s time school districts, cities, and states take the climate emergency seriously and ensure proper measures are in place to keep both children and staff safe from the weather.
The district being forced to close schools due to lack of adequate heating during winter is the result of decades of systematic disinvestment in our children’s future. This disinvestment is not new to the leadership of the district, elected officials and agencies. In 2015 the city passed a Sustainability Plan and in 2019 a Climate, Action and Adaptation plan passed at the city of San Antonio. The lack of preparation is not an accident but an ignorance and diminishing the reality that we live in now.
The City of San Antonio and the state of Texas need to take real measures to stop climate change, and the effects it is causing in our communities. We call it “extreme weather”, but this is now our normal, and it will continue to exacerbate, unless elected officials and leaders make bold moves to reverse the effects of climate change and invest in solutions that build up resiliency in our community.
Call or email SAISD and members of the school board, they need to hear from you directly. Share your stories, thoughts, and solutions you have.
This issue brings together two areas of work the organization has historically worked on, Environmental Justice and Workers Rights. 70% of primary care takers in the US are women, if schools are closed, it is likely that the primary caretaker will not earn a wage that day. When studies, plans and analysis are ignored by elected officials, it creates a domino effect that impacts working families the most.
In 2023 the International Panel on Climate Change released a report which called for an immediate stop to burning fossil fuels and a need to rapidly shift from the existing lifestyle. While closing down schools and fixing infrastructure was the safest choice for the leadership this time, immediate measures need to happen to ensure future weather emergencies have proper preparedness and long term changes are conducted to align with a call to change existing practices.