National News

Questioning Why Students Were Dismissed During the Storm

Posted May 21, 2018 8:43 p.m. EDT

— Parents of students in the Wayne Highlands School District are thankful no one was hurt during last week's wicked thunderstorm. All but one of the district's schools let out right when the storm hit.

The superintendent at Wayne Highlands says that storm arrived sooner than he thought it would on Tuesday. And while Western Wayne held students until almost 5 p.m., most of the students from Wayne Highlands were on buses during the height of that storm.

Brianna Knapp posted video to Facebook showing all the damage along River Road near Beach Lake including a school van crushed by falling trees.

"It took a couple hours to sink in. They just lived through this. They were so lucky," said Aimee Andrews.

Andrews' son Ethan was in that van. The eighth grader along with the driver and her daughter escaped unhurt, but Aimee realizes just how close a call it was.

"Tree hit the van and they couldn't go any further. They were running through the trees."

The superintendent at Wayne Highlands School District says officials were keeping a close watch on the forecast and decided to keep Preston students at the school until the worst was over.

At Damascus Elementary and in town, at the schools, those students were dismissed at the height of the storm when those officials thought it was safe.

Stacy Bosi's son attends Damascus Elementary. He was on a bus last Tuesday. She credits the bus drivers with keeping the kids safe.

"The bus drivers were fantastic, can't speak more highly of them," Bosi said. "The kids are safe, looking back, hard to form an opinion because I'm thankful."

The tornado warning came only after school dismissed, but the district was under a severe thunderstorm warning most of the day. Parents hope this may serve as a lesson for future storms.

"I don't know who makes that call and I don't know why one school was held. Thank God nobody was hurt," said Andrews.

A number of buses returned to schools in the Wayne Highlands School District that day because of all the downed trees.

School leaders insist they always err on the side of caution and made the decision to dismiss with the best information they had at the time.