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Aaaaugh! Hundreds of kids stranded at schools in Georgia, Alabama

Joyce Cook, an instructional aide, reads
Joyce Cook, an instructional aide, readsButch Dill / AP

Every kid's nightmare came true Tuesday for hundreds of children in Georgia and Alabama, where a winter storm shut down bus service and left them stranded.

At school.

And they could be there all night.

"We're just doing what we do. We're keeping the kids happy," Don Garrett, a second-grade teacher at Grantswood Community School in Irondale, Ala., told The Birmingham News.

Teachers and staff brought out snacks and games and planned for a long night, if necessary.

"This is outside their routine, and younger kids are pretty routine-oriented, and we're trying to maintain that," Garrett told the newspaper. "The last thing we would want to do is panic the kids, so we're just doing business as usual."

In some districts, conditions were so bad that not only were buses pulled from the road, but parents were also told not to even try to pick up their kids.

"If you have not picked up your child from school, please do not rush, and stay safe," the Homewood, Ala., school system said in a statement. "Homewood City Schools has faculty and administrators that will be staying at the schools through the evening, if need be, with students and families that were not able to travel home due to the weather."

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Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told reporters late Tuesday that state officials didn't know how many students were stranded at how many schools, but he promised that however many it was, they would be fed and watched over.

"If you trust your teacher to take care of your child today, they will be taken care of tonight,” Bentley said.

In Marietta, Ga., a northern suburb of Atlanta, hundreds of kids were still at school at 7:15 p.m. ET, Associate Superintendent Dayton Hibbs told NBC News.

"The schools are prepared for the students to spend the night if necessary," Hibbs said.

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School board Chairman Randy Weiner told The Marietta Daily Journal: "I can almost guarantee every school is going to have a slumber party because the buses couldn't get out."

The 55,000-student Atlanta public school system initially said it hoped to have all students home by 8 p.m. ET. But at 8:30 p.m., it said it was still having trouble getting buses to some campuses, most of them in the northern part of the district.

In the meantime, students were having dinner and watching movies, the school system said.

Garrett, the second-grade teacher in Alabama, said the kids were posing no trouble — it was nervous parents who were causing the headaches.

"We're really kind of doing both sides of it," he said — "taking care of the parents and the kids."

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