I’ve seen several stories like this one about yesterday’s tornado in Enterprise, Alabama. After a tornado hit a school and killed 8 kids,there is a good deal of criticism being leveled at school officials for not sending the kids home.
I can’t ever recall it even being suggested that a school should cast its kids out into the street or into buses so they can race a storm home. Have you?
Well, maybe to beat a snowstorm before the roads become impassible, but a tornado warning? Sometimes people do everything right and other people still die. If there’s anything to investigate, it’s whether the building met was up to codes, or collapsed like a house of cards because of shabby construction.
They did that very thing yesterday in several counties surrounding mine. They were concerned about the severe weather and let out 2-3 hours early. My county did not, reasoning that at best kids would be delivered home to empty houses and at worst could be stuck in severe weather out on the highways.
Our school district did that once when the heat went out, but the kids were middle school (6,7 and 8th grade) and the automated phone system called all the parents to let them know. Kids who didn’t have housekeys or knew no one would be home were bussed to another school until the regular end of day and then bussed back to their regular school to get home however they usually get home.
They’ve all been bussed to other schools for most of the day for particularly worrisome bomb threats a couple of times, but even that’s not normal - usually they stand out in the field for a while until the police give the all clear.
I don’t think it’s ever been done for weather in our district, though. We haven’t even taken a snow day in the 7 years we’ve been here.
I remember one day when I was in grade school (I think it was second grade, but this is 20 years ago, so I can’t say for sure) when our school let out due to high winds. This was in the Quad Cities area, IL.
No, this is silly. In fact, our school district’s policy is that the kids can’t leave even at the hour when school’s out if the area is under a tornado alert. If, say, you walked over there to pick the kid up because he had an orthodontist’s appointment you would have to sign him out and make even more copies than if you took him out during school hours.
And that’s really silly, because while Denver does have a “tornado” every 10 years or so, and they do cause some damage, I don’t think anyone has ever been killed by one here.
But it does depend on the severe weather. They’ve been let out early because of fear of a snowstorm, with the idea being to get them out and home while it’s still possible to do so.
I subbed in Sumner County, TN on Thursday. Schools closed at 1:00 and we sent the kids home for severe weather.
Thing is, we had an awful tornado rip through Gallatin last spring that ripped right through a high school football field and narrowly missed the junior high that I was working in. It tore apart the theater building of a local community college and completely decimated businesses and homes. It was a nasty business and killed quite a few. The county seems to be playing it safe.
Of course, just cancelling the whole thing may be preferable to having 45% of your students pulled out by paranoid and excitable parents and missing instruction.