Look, if there were a hurricane warning (I'm in Western South Dakota), I'd really kind of expect an "oh shit" reaction. We don't have hurricanes here (... technically - more on that in a second), so I'd expect a proportionate response.
"Northerners" may bawk a bit at Southerners and hteir response to snow, but having lived in the Northeast and in VA, as well as having lived out here in the Black Hills for the past 8 years or so, I can say that the kind of snow you get when it's warm and cools quickly is entirely different than something in the Northeast, where the snow is thick and clingy. The elevation of the originating snowfall also seems to change things.
For instance, we've had a relatively uncommon winter here, for here. :P We've had week-long cycles since December where it'll get up to 50F, then drop in the next day (to eg. 20 or even -20) and rain/snow in the process. You'll get slick, dangerous roads from the rain, which then get powder coated. It's hellish.
This is part of what happened to us last October; we had a thundersnow and osmething like 3' of snow in a matter of a day (an uncommon event for us) with winds >50MPH. So, like a land locked winter hurricane, of sorts. It was unexpected, and it caught a lot of people off guard (wasn't said to be as bad as it was) - but we're used to winter storm events like Floridians are used to hurricanes, so we knew to prepare. But still, we weren't ready for it - it was in mid-October and most plows didn't have eg. winter fuel in them, chains on the tires, etc. and nobody was truly ready.
They should've shut the city down simply because they weren't prepared. This seems like a no-brainer. Having school on a day like this should result in any injuries to children result in criminal charges against the politicians: after all, it's a crime for parents to simply not send their kids to school if school is being held.