Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 21, 2013

Local schools prepared for the worst when storms strike


Somerset —

The ideas Butcher mentioned are simple but tried and true, with one key: get as far inside as possible.
“We have designated areas where our students go to the most safe spots in the building — we feel like our buildings are very safe,” he said. “We try to get kids away from windows where glass and debris is flying through. We get them into hallways where we’ve got concrete walls on each side of you.
“The kids practice tornado drills (in the designated areas),” he added. “The main thing is to get them out of harm’s way.”
This is common practice for local schools. Boyd Randolph, superintendent of the Somerset Independent School System, said his district practices tales similar action in the event of inclement weather, and he noted that his district works hard to keep students ready for weather-related emergencies.
“As part of our way of doing business, we have physical practice drills we do to cover all sorts of events,” said Randolph. “The grown-ups also practice their roles.”
Watching weather patterns and reports is another important practice for Randolph. Keeping abreast of what’s happening on a hourly — even to the minute — basis can sometimes be critical in a severe weather situation.
“It’s part of the normal practice that everyone does,” he said.
Randolph also noted that kids are kept in the building during hazardous weather events. Sometimes, however, this may interfere with parents wanting to pick their children up and take them home if they feel they may be safer there.
“We’ll always defer to the parent to take control of their child,” said Randolph. However, “We have to keep them safe. We have to take measures to ensure their safety before we can ever teach them. 
“The obligations we have, we take very seriously,” he added. “That’s why we devoted almost an entire section in our policy manual just to safety.”

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