Some Sand Springs Parents Concerned With Timing Of Recent Tornado Drill

Friday, April 10th 2015, 11:43 pm
By: News On 6

Some Sand Springs parents think the school district rushed tornado drills too fast following the deadly tornado two weeks ago.

Parents said their kids were warned one day ahead of time about an emergency drill on the bus, but some were too scared to even get on it the next day.

Students said the bus pulled over near a ditch and the driver told everyone to get out and lay down in the ditch.

While parents said they want their kids prepared, some said the drill was too soon and too traumatizing.

Monday, 11-year-old Danielle Maddux was on the playground with her friends, but two weeks ago she was terrified, taking shelter in her bath tub as tornado sirens sounded.

“I used to think they were really cool and it'd be so awesome to be in a tornado, but now I want to move out of Oklahoma," she said.

Weeks later, she's still having a hard time.

3/31/2015 Related Story: Communities Continue Cleanup Post Sand Springs Tornado

She said she got anxious when her bus driver told her an emergency drill would be happen the next day and students would have 45 seconds to get off the bus and into a ditch.

"Her anxiety levels were already a little bit higher and she had already decided she didn't want any part of that and asked if we could drive her to school," Danielle's mother, Tracy said.

Danielle said having her parents drive her to school took the fear away.

"I'm not going to be freaking out and being scared and I can just stay calm,” the 11 year old said.

While her mom supports emergency drills, she dislikes the timing.

"I think they are all good for having the kids practice, and practice makes perfect. It helps them know what to do in an emergency situation, but I had to ask myself if it was too soon," Tracy said.

Danielle said, "I think if they waited a little longer it would be better because no one would be scared or anything."

Other parents like Nikke James, said the timing is never right for a tornado, so it's never too soon for a drill.

“As a parent, you want your child to know what to do so they don't freak out in an emergency situation," James said.

In Oklahoma you never know when clouds will start rotating while buses are out on the road.

The school district said it was emergency drills, not just tornado drills, and all about making sure students feel comfortable.

In a statement, the district said: It said the drills are state required and they take place twice a year - once first semester and once second semester.

"These drills are state required and they take place twice a year, once first semester and once second semester. Due to poor weather conditions, we are just now completing our second semester drill. We try to do these in nicer weather rather than during ice, snow and rain since they must be done outdoors. We scheduled for the first week where we knew for sure that weather would cooperate.

The drills have nothing to do with the tornado and are nothing more than practice quickly evacuating the bus at their school in the morning and verifying that drivers show good control of the evacuation. After we unload the bus, we then reload, gather their belongings, and they exit into their building. These drills do take place on school property and are setup to simulate an emergency situation; however, they are not done in any kind of a stressful way.”

Maddux hopes, in the future, the district would notify parents so she can spend time talking about the drill with her daughter, before she's caught off-guard.