Councillor in hot water following school snow closure meltdown

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AN outspoken councillor is in trouble after blasting his own officials on social media for closing schools in bad weather.

Rory Stewart launched a lengthy Facebook rant in which he branded Scottish Borders Council (SBC) staff a “laughing stock”.

Cllr Stewart, who was incensed by the cancellation of school transport as a result of two inches of snow, demanded: “What the bloody earth has got into them.”

His tirade was warmly welcomed by social media users but the self-employed plasterer is in hot water for breaking the council’s code of conduct.

The 46-year-old has been summoned to attend a dressing-down by council officials next Thursday.

Cllr Stewart hit out at the cancellations
Cllr Stewart hit out at the cancellations

Last Wednesday, SBC cancelled all school transport for the next day after 3cm to 6cm (2.5in – 3.5in) of snow was forecast for the region.

Sharing the frustration of thousands of parents who had to quit work to collect their offspring, Cllr Stewart took to his Facebook page.

He wrote: “First of all, at the beginning of December, they banned all secondary pupils from leaving school premises at lunchtime because of high water levels.

“Now the cancellation of all school activities, school lets or sporting lets tonight because of snow. What a load of nonsense. Where’s the snow SBC?”

He added: “They want students to behave like young adults, but they themselves treat them like children.

“The cancellation of all school transport tomorrow – what! But teachers are still allowed to travel.

“The forecast is for snow: yes, well maybe we will get snow – it is winter after all -but should that stop the education system? I don’t bloody think so

“What’s wrong with waiting until 6.30am or 7am and making a decision then? The forecasters can hardly tell us what the weather was yesterday, never mind what it is going to be tomorrow.

“You make yourself a laughing stock at times SBC and indefensible. What’s next on the ludicrous list – no children should come to school on a sunny day in case they get a touch of the sun.”

John Johnston commented: “Well said, what a bunch of clowns making these decisions.”

Gary Mcewen added: “Quite right. School was never closed in 1971 – biggest snowfall in Gala then but we went to school”

The forecast snow never did arrive, but SBC still defended their position.

Emergency planning officers Jim Fraser said: “We take decisions based on the very latest information from the Met Office and associated advice from Police Scotland.”

The councillor’s code of conduct dictates that an elected member should not speak critically in public against paid officials.

A spokesman for SBC said: “Officers will be meeting with Councillor Stewart to discuss his comments.”

Scottish Conservative local government MSP Cameron Buchanan said: “It seems a little heavy-handed of Scottish Borders Council to treat this independent councillor in this way.

“What ever happened to freedom of speech?

“Whilst officials waste time investigating this matter, many parents will be left reeling that their children had to take a day of school for a snow storm which didn’t materialise.”

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