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Oklahoma tornadoes: Schools cope with aftermath of storms

Two Oklahoma school districts are ending the year early after storms damaged school buildings and tore through neighborhoods.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND and DARLA SLIPKE Published: May 26, 2011

The superintendent of Guthrie Public Schools was picking up the pieces Wednesday after a tornado damaged several school buildings and disabled a fleet of buses.

“The first reaction is concern for the safety of all of our students, faculty and staff, and from there it becomes one of, ‘How do we put all of this back together?”, Superintendent Terry Simpson said. “It became evident very quickly that we were not going to be able to run bus routes and transport students anytime in the near future.”

Storms that ripped through central Oklahoma on Tuesday were a nightmare for superintendents, bearing down on schools just as students were being released for the day.

In Piedmont, where some of the worst damage from the storms occurred, Superintendent James White said school officials got buses moving early and had every student dropped off in advance of the tornado.

“It missed all of our buildings,” White said. “There's just a lot of devastation and a lot of complete losses for students and families ... everybody came out safe which is the important thing.”

White said they canceled the final day of school Wednesday because it was impossible to get to some parts of town, however, teachers were at schools calling students and colleagues to check on their safety.

White said Piedmont schools had already met the state's requirement for time in school.

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