Snow forces hundreds of students to sleep at schools in West Orange, NJ overnight

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Candace McCowan reports the storm caused big problems in New Jersey.

All students at one New Jersey school are finally home Friday after they were forced to sleep in the building overnight due to the snowstorm.

Snow days sometimes mean you get a day off, but sometimes snow days leave you stranded. And that's exactly what happened at Liberty Middle School on Thursday.

All it took was a couple of cars to run out of gas, stall or spin out to jam up traffic, preventing school buses from getting to schools in West Orange.

When only four of 14 buses showed up to transport more than 300 children, school officials realized students weren't going to be able get home. So they packed in the auditorium with games and movies and pulled out mats for students to sleep.

Eight West Orange Public School District schools, including a preschool, had students spend the night. More than 200 students in all slept at West Orange schools. Liberty Middle School housed the most students, with about 25 teachers looking after about 100 students overnight.

Friday morning, many of those cars remained abandoned on I-280, making it difficult for the plows to even clear the road way.

"There's a big accident, not to mention about maybe 15 cars stuck up there as well," one commuter said. "That's why we can't get through, and the police can't get through either because you have no idea the abundance of traffic."

Family members say the principal, who had been up since 4:40 a.m. Thursday, did an excellent job communicating with them by tweeting about the situation in the school to keep them updated.



It took a lot of resources and help from school employees, including the cafeteria staff, to keep the children safe and fed at the school overnight.


A milk delivery truck even dropped off supplies in the early morning hours Friday.

The final three kids went home at 9:30 a.m., meaning staff -- and the principal -- could finally go home themselves for some much-needed rest and relaxation.



Police escorted students home who were not able to be picked up by their family, school officials said.

West Orange public schools were closed Friday.

CNN contributed to this report.
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