A power outage in Temecula early Monday that killed electricity and phone service to Vail Ranch Middle School resulted in students being released from school several hours early. Parents reported receiving calls from the school and their students at about 12:30 p.m. Monday, alerting them to the early release.
More than 300 Southern California Edison customers — including the middle school campus located at 33340 Camino Piedra Rojo — were affected by the unplanned outage.
The school and the Temecula Valley Unified School District took the rare step mid-Monday of allowing students go home early because of the heat and the lack of air conditioning, district officials said.
The air conditioning at the school wasn’t working and the school had no phone service, which made matters more difficult as the district office fielded dozens of phone calls while trying to reach parents mid-day by the tele-parent phone system.
District spokeswoman Cathy Smyth said students whose parents could not be reached would be kept at the school and made as comfortable as possible.
By 1 p.m., scores of parents’ cars were lined up at the school, jamming the parking lot and surrounding streets.
A crowd of confused parents stood outside the administration building, trying to learn what was happening. Some parents were required to sign their children out from school while other students were apparently able to leave on their own if teachers determined they could walk home, according to parents who were at the school.
The majority of the students, however, were held by staff as parents came to claim their children.
The outage at Vail Ranch Parkway was reported shortly after 4 a.m. and power was expected to be back about 3:30 p.m., according to the Southern California Edison website.
The cause of the outage was attributed to “equipment problems.”
Tom Deleon, a Redhawk area resident and parent of a Vail Ranch Middle School student, said his electrical power had been out since 1 a.m. Monday. He said he was told that the power would be restored much earlier Monday.
Amy Bentley is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.