#closeFCPS

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#closeFCPS

photo illustration by Hannah Lim

photo illustration by Hannah Lim

photo illustration by Hannah Lim

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On Tuesday, Jan. 6, what started as a light snow storm turned to chaos. With 3 to 4 inches of snow piling onto the ground, students stood alone at bus stops and waited for rides that didn’t come. A bus toppled sideways, sending students to the hospital. Classrooms only had a handful of kids when the bell rang. It was in this state of chaos that a movement for the record books was born: #closeFCPS.

In order to voice their displeasure with the FCPS leaders, namely school board member Ryan McElveen and superintendent Karen Garza, for not cancelling school, students, parents and teachers took to Twitter with the hashtag.

“#closeFCPS was a trend waiting to happen,” junior Chris Clarke said. “Beginning with the Ryan McElveen phenomenon of the winter of 2013-2014, FCPS students have been building a substantial Twitter presence.”

The hashtag climbed to the top of Twitter’s national trends and into the worldwide trends, until it achieved No. 1 on both and landed a spot on Buzzfeed.

“Nationally trending never even crossed my mind,” Clarke said. “Then No. 1 internationally? That was crazy. I mean, we’re just a bunch of kids that wanted to get a snow day; [it] makes you wonder what you can do with a large group of people united behind a cause.”

People from other counties, states and even other countries, including England, Australia and Germany, voiced their support.

“Sending love and support from Scotland #closeFCPS,” Dougie Harrower, a resident of Scotland, tweeted.

The day was not all fun and games on Twitter, however. Students, parents and teachers were furious with school officials after struggling with a dangerous commute. They shared pictures of car crashes, turned over buses and stories of having to walk from their homes and abandoned cars.

At the end of the day, FCPS officials heard student pleas and responded.

“We apologize for the difficulties the weather caused this morning,” FCPS said in a statement released online. “The decision was made with the best information we had very early this morning. Needless to say, the conditions were far worse than anticipated.”

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