Friday, March 2, 2007

To Leave or Not To Leave?

I was sent this picture today of the tornado that hit Enterprise, Alabama yesterday. This is the most massive tornado I've seen in a long time. In reading the interviews given by the school officials and parents yesterday at the school, it seems they were faced with a big dilemma. School officials had moved all the students into the interior halls after the first warnings were issued around 10:30 a.m. by the National Weather Service. A "significant number" of students were checked out by their parents after that. The school planned to send the rest of the students home at 1 p.m., but then a new warning surfaced, so that was delayed to 1:30 p.m. The storm hit around 1:15 p.m.
Should schools send students home in inclement weather or protect them in the hallways as best they can?
When I was in school, we never got out early or were checked out early due to bad weather. We stuck it out, bored out of our minds in the hallways. But some parents want their kids at home when bad weather strikes. WLBT will be pursuing this story next week so we hope to have more on our options as parents and educators.
Speaking of next week, I was summoned for jury duty in Madison County for Monday morning. I look forward to seeing our judicial system at work locally, but for some reason I think I'll be "dismissed".


April said...

There were only two times that I remember being in a tornado warning at school. One was in elementary school and one was in middle school. After that, the warnings would hit either when I was home or I was sick.

The one that hit when I was in elementary school, because the school was an extremely small private school, the principal called our parents and told them to come and check us all out. I remember looking out the window in the class room I was in (I think I was in either 4th or 5th grade.) and seeing the sky. It was pitch black outside and it was the middle of the day. We turned on the radio and they had just issued a warning. The principal and teachers got us quickly in the hallway but there wasn't that much coverage because the school was old and the hallway was very small. So, our parents came and got us.

The one in middle school was different because I was at a different school. Instead of a private school, it was a public school so, the school was pretty big in size and the hallways and locker-ways were specially made for emergencies such as tornado's. In that respect, they kept us there because they knew we'd be safe. I stayed at school there until about 4 when the warning passed and we were aloud on the buses. So, I guess calling the parents is a judgement call on the principal's level. If the parents feel that they need to come get their child, they will. If they feel that the child is safe, then more than likely the parent will call the school to make sure. At least that's what my parents did when the tornado hit when I was in middle school. They were reassured that the hallways were the safest place for the kids to be. They would not let us go until the warning passed.

KeithAR2002 said...

That photo has to be the scariest thing I've ever seen. I have never experienced a tornado (knock on wood), so I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like.

There is really no 100% safe place to be during one. A basement would be safest, but what if the building caved in? A storm cellar would be okay, but what if a tree fell on the entrance door and you were trapped? That is why I think tornadoes have to be the worst thing in the world.

And about schools - I don't think it's a good idea that they send home students during severe weather. I don't think parents should try and pick their kids up, either. Doing that is even more dangerous than the tornado warning itself. During inclement winter weather, it's okay to let school out early, but definitely not during severe thunderstorms! Sorry Barbie, I know this comment was a small novel, I just had a lot to type =)

April said...

I'm gonna have to agree. I don't think the children should be taken. I do think that they should stay where it is safe until the storm is passed. But the thing about my elementary school was that there wasn't a safe place for us to go. The school was a really tiny school which was why. And my mom was freaking out when she came and got me and my brother. She was saying, "Come on. Come on. There's a tornado warning. We have to get home now." Luckily that tornado didn't hit the ground but it was still scary.

I don't think the children should be let go. But I do think that the school should have a storm shelter of some sort for the states that are in tornado alley or who experience tornados. That's my opinion.