Ice storm knocks out Internet during Highlands High’s Spirit Week ‘Throwback Thursday’

Learning in the dark

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Thursday’s ice storm knocked out power at Highlands High School and the middle school in Fort Thomas. Some parents, as you might imagine, were wondering why the kids were not sent home.

"It’s an unfortunate situation and it’s not ideal,” said Dr. Karen Cheser, Superintendent of Ft. Thomas Independent Schools. “We would love to have the Internet, we would love to have full-on power, but it’s the best that could happen at this point.”

Trees outside Highlands High School were encased in ice and so were many of the power lines. The good news is, the power came on just around noon Thursday. The bad news is, a lot of parents were upset their kids weren’t sent home when the building went dark.

Students shot video of other students using their cellphone flashlights to navigate between classes, inside the dark hallways at Highlands High School. Cheser said school, for most students, starts at 8 a.m.

“The electricity went out at 7:35,” said Cheser. “We already had hundreds of students already here. We have early bird classes and hundreds of students were here, the rest were almost here.”

She felt reassured from Duke that the power would not be out long, so they kept the kids in place at just the middle and high schools, since there were no problems reported at their other schools.

“Yes! It got cold fast,” said freshman Charles Kreyling, shivering as FOX19 spoke with him. “Cold and it was super dark.”

Cheser said they were more worried about sending kids home to houses, which may not have power or heat and parents potentially at work.

“We thought they were safer here,” said Cheser. “They’re warmer, it’s about 70 degrees, we have a combination of gas and electric, for heat.”

“Things happen, but wish that school had been called off,” said Karen Guitierrez, who said her phone began blowing up early in the morning. “We were just really concerned about the kids getting cold and what are they going to do for lunch? It’s a tough spot for the school.”

Her 15-year-old Mateo Guitierrez said it was throwback Thursday for Spirit Week ahead of Friday’s football game -- she said the lack of Internet made it a fitting theme.

The kids got a hot meal in the afternoon. All the businesses in the area rallied around them and sent hot lunches to the kids, such as cheese coneys and pizza.

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