I would like to take this opportunity to review the events of this past Tuesday afternoon, May 15th related to our storm event.
We had a forecast of severe weather for that afternoon, but the onset of the weather was predicted for approximately 5:00 p.m. On that basis I cancelled all after school activities, but planned on a regular dismissal.
At Stissing Mountain Jr. Sr. High School, students were able to be transported home at their regular time with little impact from the weather. However, by 3:00 p.m. with the buses at the two elementary schools preparing for dismissal, the weather situation worsened dramatically and quickly. We were under a tornado warning meaning conditions were right for a tornado to form. I made the decision to hold the students in the two elementary school buildings.
Our staff sheltered the students in interior spaces away from all windows. This is the proper procedure for such events. An alert message went out to parents advising them of the delayed dismissal. Parents who called were advised not to come to the school for their own and their children’s safety given the weather situation. However, if a parent was at the school and wanted to sign out their child, we allowed them to do so. A number of parents remained with their children at the school in our shelter area.
At approximately 3:35 p.m. weather radar showed that the most severe of the weather had passed. While we could expect continued heavy rain, the tornado threat, the high winds and the damaging hail had moved to our south. I made the decision to load the students on to their buses and take them home. A second alert message was sent to parents advising them of the dismissal.
This was a potentially dangerous situation. While we cannot anticipate every possible situation, we do practice responses to various scenarios. Our administrators, our staff and most importantly our drivers and monitors did an exemplary job in ensuring the safety of our students.
I would like to thank you for your cooperation and support during this event.
Dr. Martin D. Handler