Norman parents upset district put kids at risk during tornado

Norman school buses out in tornado

NORMAN, Okla. — The tornado that touched down Friday night in Norman led to some terrifying moments for several middle school students.

A handful of the district’s school buses continued delivering kids even as the tornado remained on the ground.

Monday, district leaders admitted mistakes were made.

The superintendent for Norman Schools said the district got the go ahead to send home middle school kids at 3:40 p.m. Friday.

Twenty minutes later, with dozens of buses on the street, the tornado sirens sounded.

“As we were in the shelter, we heard a faint knocking and it was our children at the door being dropped off as the sirens were sounding,” one frustrated parent said.

That mother didn’t want to be identified; her son attends Longfellow Middle School.

On their way home Friday, the boy, and others on his bus, saw a scary sight from the window.

“The children actually saw the tornado from the back of the bus, screaming at the driver to take them somewhere safe. He didn’t, he continued of his normal bus route,” the parent said.

“We don’t think dropping students off was right at that moment at that time,” Norman School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Siano said.

Superintendent Siano understands that parent’s frustration.

Friday night the district did order all school buses to return to the nearest safe school.

Out of 68 buses, five drivers are being investigated for possibly failing to follow proper procedure.

“For the most part, the procedures worked. We have to find out why there were gaps in communication,” Siano said.

“The bus drivers should have known what to do in this situation and they didn’t,” the upset parent said.

The good news, no students were injured, despite the mixup.