When TV meteorologists start using big words like accumulation, whiteout, and wind chill factor, adults know its time to head to the local grocery store to stock up on canned goods, batteries, and other essential supplies and kids know it might mean that schools will be closed and they’ll get to sleep in and enjoy a snow day.
However, what happens when there’s a state of emergency but authorities decide that kids still have to go to school? Well, if you’re like Zachary Maxwell, a twelve-year-old student, you pick up your camera, you find the adults who are calling the shots, and you make a documentary film about it.
Since 1978, New York City has been hit by 55 severe winter storms, but schools have only been closed eleven times. Maxwell headed to City Hall to try to find some answers, then to the Department of Education. Access was denied both times, so he decided to write a few heartfelt handwritten letters, hoping for a positive response.
New York State has the largest public education system in the country with over 1700 schools and about 1.1 million students. This state has determined that a school year needs to have a minimum of 180 school days. Due to the holidays and breaks, there’s not a lot of room left for flexibility. That places a lot of pressure on the people in charge of making the decisions regarding snow days.
Follow Zachary Maxwell as he steps into the situation room where the big decisions are made. New Yorkers pride themselves on being tough by nature so a little snow cannot shut the city down.