A task force will review Oklahoma City's procedures for protecting public safety — including the safety of schoolchildren — during storms such as the May 20 tornado.
The panel will examine “any and all options” in regard to community safety during severe weather, said Mayor Mick Cornett, who will serve as chairman.
“Part of the conversation we need to have is how we protect our children,” Cornett said Monday.
Seven children died at a Moore elementary school after a wall collapsed during the tornado. In all, 24 people were killed, including several in Oklahoma City.
Cornett said he asked task force members to get started as soon as possible and talk over the summer. The task force will invite members of the public to comment, he said.
Members will include Ward 4 City Councilman Pete White and Ward 5 City Councilman David Greenwell. Residents of Wards 4 and 5 had damage from the May 20 tornado.
Cornett has asked Janet Barresi, state schools superintendent; Xavier Neira, Oklahoma director of business development for Manhattan Construction, and Harold Roberts, chief operating officer of ASTEC Charter Schools, to join the panel.
Cornett said he intended to add a few more members to the task force “to ensure a diverse and wide-open conversation” regarding storm-related safety.
“We want to look at the issue from every possible angle to make sure we are doing what is right and appropriate to safeguard our community and our schools from extreme weather events,” Cornett said. “Our top council priority is to provide a safe and secure community.”
Cornett, who attended a funeral for one of the Moore students on Monday, said he visited the two schools, Briarwood Elementary School in Oklahoma City and Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, that were destroyed by the tornado.
“It's amazing the loss of lives wasn't many times greater than it was,” Cornett said. “The buildings did not stand up to the F5 tornado.”