Storm Knocks Out Forest Lake High School Prom, Some Parents Upset Over Timing

April 15, 2018 10:18 PM

Forest Lake High School canceled Saturday night's prom, but some parents are not happy it happened about an hour before it was set to start.

The school's prom was scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Landmark Center, but Forest Lake school leaders notified parents Saturday morning it was being moved to the high school, because of the worsening weather conditions.

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About an hour before the prom started, another message went out to parents and students telling them the dance was postponed because there did not appear to be a break in the weather.

RELATED: From ACT Tests to Prom: Schools Cancel, Reschedule Events Due to Snow 

Kimberly Fitch is the parent of a Forest Lake High School student who told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there were "a lot of parents upset that the school waited so long to call it off."

"There were quite a few kids already at the school so they could have their pictures taken," Fitch said.  "And, in my opinion, they could have canceled it around mid-afternoon, because you could see the weather was worse. And waiting until 7:30 p.m. made no sense."

Fitch said she could not get out of her driveway to come pick up her 18-year-ol daughter, who then had to drive herself home in the middle of the storm.

"It just put a lot of kids, and parents for that matter, in a bad spot," she said. "And there were other parents, like me, who were very worried about their children's safety and a lot of us just feel waiting so long was not necessary."

Her daughter, Shelby Fitch, said the students were appreciative of the school's efforts to keep the prom going, but she also would have preferred an earlier decision.

"We were all getting the cancellation message at the same time and we were not happy," Shelby Fitch said.  "We were already dressed in our formals and pretty excited. And then to have it all end so abruptly and then driving home was really kind of scary."

RELATED: Some Minnesotans Embrace Blizzard Conditions 

Forest Lake Schools said there were no reports of any injuries, or accidents, among the students who showed up at the school. Forest Lake High School Principal Jim Caldwell said things just got worse a lot faster than they anticipated.

"Hindsight is always 20/20 and we really thought we might be able to keep things on schedule," Caldwell said. "But, hey, we got caught in something that turned out to be much bigger and much worse than we thought it would and things like that happen."

Caldwell said the school made sure the students all had safe rides home and that staff stayed at the school to make sure everyone was out of the high school.

"I stayed and other staff stayed to make sure everything was going as smoothly as possible for the students," Caldwell said.  "Sometimes we call things off ahead of time and we do not get the weather that was predicted to happen. This time we got caught in a bad turn of events."

Caldwell said school leaders are meeting Monday and plans are already happening to reschedule Forest Lake's prom.

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Jay Kolls

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