Rome Burns. School Cancelled.

The "deadly ice storm" didn't quite live up to its hype in these parts, but that didn't stop some aspiring truants from taking advantage of the hysteria. The Chron has a story today about how several students dredged up a 1997 article from the paper's Web site and passed off the information as current.

Although the Web page clearly stated it contained "school closings for Jan. 14, 1997," the list of more than 50 Houston-area public school districts — including Houston, Spring and Galena Park — prompted plenty of confusion among administrators, school employees, parents and students.

The online story, which referred to one of the area's worst ice storms in recent years, was viewed at least 74,000 times on Monday and 4,000 on Tuesday, according to Chron.com editors.


Although not all districts have tallied their Tuesday absences, at Galena Park — where district officials say students circulated e-mails with links to the 1997 story — nearly a quarter of students missed school. The normal attendance rate is 97 percent, said district spokesman Craig Eichhorn.

We would tsk-tsk the students, but we kind of admire their ingenuity. Wanna skip work? Just tell the boss you're lost at sea. Need to account for an AWOL weekend? Just say you were busy digging a hole. Trying to get out of a relationship? Answer a higher calling. The possibilities are endless. — Keith Plocek

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