Mayor teases students over snow days

Story highlights

  • Mayor of Danbury, Connecticut, teases students on Twitter about school closings
  • Mark Boughton tweets jokes, keeps kids guessing about snow days
  • Mayor: "It is sort of a tradition around here"

(CNN)Every time a snowstorm bears down on Danbury, Connecticut -- which has happened a lot this winter -- students and parents turn to Twitter to find out whether schools will be closed.

They rarely get a straight answer.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton
Instead, Danbury residents see jokes, meme-filled videos and teasing references to snow days at fictional high schools from "Glee" or "Grease" -- all courtesy of Mayor Mark Boughton, a social-media prankster whose @MayorMark account provides actual updates about school closings amid all the buffoonery.
    "Attention: West Beverly Hills High School is closed for tomorrow. #90210," read one recent mayoral tweet.
    Boughton always gets around to the real news eventually. But first come the wisecracks. He was in especially rare form Tuesday night, tweeting almost a dozen snow-day jokes, Storify user and freelance journalist Kristin Hussey chronicled, as yet another storm hit Danbury.
    Parents and students tuning in for real news about snow days might find this running gag irritating. But on Twitter, at least, many students seem to get the joke.
    "@MayorMark you better get each and every one of us a therapist after all of stress you're causing us," wrote one.
    "The kids take it tongue in cheek. They understand, because it's sort of a tradition around here," said Boughton, who told CNN he's been trading jokes about snow days with students on Twitter for several years now.
    "We go back and forth. But it's all in good fun."
    One twist of the whole thing is that Boughton doesn't even make the call about closing Danbury schools. That decision is left to Superintendent of Schools Sal Pascarella, who confers with Boughton by phone and then sends an automated update to every parent's phone.
    But Boughton, who ran for governor of Connecticut last year and has 18,000 Twitter followers, usually posts his school-closing tweets first.
    Finally, after hours of build-up, the mayor gave people of Danbury the news at 6:21 a.m. Wednesday: Schools would open two hours late.
    The mayor says he wants to help young people engage with public servants -- and show them that he can be funny.
    "I have a very serious policy side ... but I like to have a good chuckle," he said. "That's who I am. In the end, I think it (social media) is about being yourself."
    He says he rarely gets complaints about his Twitter feed, and that "parents think it's hysterical."
    But maybe not all Danbury parents.
    "As a parent, has it been helpful? No," said Stephanie Pabon, whose 6-year-old son attends a Danbury magnet school. "Because as a parent I don't have time for Twitter."