Damned if they do and damned if they don't.

No matter what school district superintendents decide when Mother Nature threatens extremes, someone is going to second-guess them.

If they call a snow day, at least a few people will grumble about "back in my day" and walking to school uphill -- both ways.

Let classes go on, and others will question administrators' sanity for risking the safety of students.

At the end of the snow day, one side or the other might even have a valid point.

The fact is, canceling school because of weather is always going to be a crap shoot.

The superintendents responsible for making that call have to base their decisions not just on what's happening in the moment, but on forecasters' predictions for later that day.

And we all know forecasts aren't always on the money.

That heavy snow might end up being nothing more than a drizzling rain, while a light dusting could turn into a foot of powder.

Some of our readers were particularly miffed, however, when school cancellations literally came out of the clear blue sky this week.

Although no precipitation was expected to fall, forecasters warned the temperature would drop dangerously low here and around much of the country.

All but one York County school district opted to shutter schools Tuesday after the local overnight high hit minus 3 degrees -- breaking a 72-year record -- and wind chill factors approached minus 25 degrees.


That's dangerously cold territory, health officials warned, putting people at risk of frostbite within minutes and hypothermia.

Still, some ridiculed the decision to cancel classes, complaining on The York Dispatch Web site about the "wussification" of children.

"They can bundle up and be warm if dressed properly," one wrote. "Other states deal (with) this all winter long. We are babying our kids."

Granted, bundling up would probably work fine on any other frigid winter day, but that's not what we witnessed this week.

This was an unusual weather event, one that would tax even those states used to - and prepared for - such extremes.

Criticism of the decision might be more understandable if school districts around here often close because of temperature extremes.

But that's not the case.

When classes are canceled, it's almost always because of difficulty getting students safely to or from school and has nothing to do with their comfort level.

Closing schools disrupts students' and teachers' schedules, forces make-up days and might throw a wrench into summer vacation plans.

We don't believe administrators make the decision lightly and believe them when they say it all comes down to students' safety.

So chill out, everyone, and let them do their jobs.