New Haven Elem. School Did Not "Take Cover" During Wednesday's Tornado Warning

By John W. Davis

October 27, 2010 Updated Oct 27, 2010 at 11:13 PM EDT

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - With help of concerned parents, Indiana's NewsCenter has uncovered that hundreds of New Haven Elementary School students did not take cover Wednesday.

East Allen County Schools officials said the decision not to "take cover" was made by the school's principal.

"My child came home worried about the storm and said that they didn't go into a hallway, which he's obviously used to doing, prior years they have had practice," said New Haven Elementary School Parent Sherri Miller.

"They know what they're doing and when a child knows that it's wrong you would think that the principal of the school should also know that's not a correct procedure," said Miller.

New Haven Elementary School Parent Mindy Schrader said she lives next door to New Haven Elementary School.

Schrader said she heard tornado sirens.

She then went upstairs and looked out her back window at the school and saw her son and other kids in their classrooms.

Meanwhile, New Haven Elementary School students said they had their first tornado drill of the year on Wednesday.

Parents said that's great, but it's a day late because the tornado warning was issued on Tuesday.

"The one building the wind was blowing so hard they couldn't actually hear the actual warning system itself. The other building they heard it (New Haven Elementary School), were kinda monitoring the weather visually and keeping an eye on it and didn't feel that it threatening enough but obviously in the future that won't be a consideration," said EACS Executive Director of School Management Chad Hissong.

Hissong also said principals have National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration radios to monitor severe weather.

"There's so many what ifs and that's why I sent the email because I'm afraid for my kids' safety, and I believe something should have been done yesterday that wasn't," said New Haven Elementary School Parent Betty Hagadorn.

Some parents said they want the New Haven Elementary School principal disciplined.

Others said if they can't trust EACS with my child's safety, how can they trust them with their money and support the district's $8.2M property tax referendum.

At least one other EACS school did not take cover, but officials will not share the name of that school.


Statement following Severe Weather of October 26, 2010

East Allen County Schools has received several calls regarding the actions of our schools during the severe weather which occurred throughout our county on Tuesday, October 26. Whereas there were a couple of instances in which schools did not “take cover” in an actual severe weather position, we know that our staff (principals and teachers) took precautions to keep all of our children safe. How that looked in each of our schools may have been different dependent upon the area of our district and the weather at the time.

One thing we learned from yesterday’s events was that there were a couple of areas of our district in which schools could not hear the tornado sirens. Our School Safety Specialist has been in touch with the Department of Homeland Security in Allen County and we are taking measures to rectify this, should a weather event such as this happen again.

At all times, the East Allen County Schools administrators, teachers, and staff do all in our power to keep our students safe under all circumstances. We rely on the professional and sound judgment of our employees to make good decisions with the best interests of students at heart.

We continually monitor and revise our policies, procedures, and practices as necessary and will keep doing so as the need arises.

Karyle Green, Superintendent

East Allen County Schools

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