Oklahoma tornadoes: Six May 20 tornado rumors corrected

As Oklahomans emerged from the rubble Monday afternoon, many details of what happened were unclear. Here are a few corrections to rumors that spread during the aftermath.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: May 26, 2013
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In the chaotic hours and days after the tornado Monday, rumors spread. Firsthand information became third-hand information, and facts were lost in translation. Misinformation was broadcast and printed. Here are six rumors you probably heard this week and the correct information.

1. Children at Plaza Towers Elementary drowned in the basement. Six died from being covered in debris. One died from blunt force trauma. The school did not have a basement. Briarwood Elementary did not have a basement either.

2. The students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades at Plaza Towers Elementary were evacuated to a nearby church before the storm hit. No students were taken outside. Parents could pick up their children until the sirens sounded, at which point everyone was told to stay in the school. After the children were rescued from the rubble, they were divided into two groups for reunification with their parents. Children in fourth, fifth and sixth grades were moved to a nearby church parking lot behind the school. Children in prekindergarten through third grade were reunited with family in front of the school.

3. The Moore Public Schools administration didn't meet about the storms until late Monday afternoon. Administrators discussed the impending weather during their weekly Monday morning meeting. The superintendent sent an email to district principals, reminding them to be prepared if something should happen. At 1 p.m., central office staff began watching weather coverage on multiple news channels and reached out to principals a second time.