NICHOLS HILLS, Okla. — The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education had a couple of special guests at their meeting Monday night.
Two Plaza Towers mothers, who lost their children on May 20th, were in attendance to present a special safety message.
They say they were getting word that there’s a group of parents organizing against the plan to build a safe room at one of the district’s elementary schools.
As we have been reporting now for months, the parents at Nichols Hills Elementary have been waiting years for a school gym add on.
After our reporting on building safer schools, the district approved plans to build a safe room, but the new plan is getting mixed reaction at the school.
Paid for by a bond issue in 2007, Nichols Hills Elementary is waiting for their free standing gymnasium, similar to the one in the video, but theirs would have a safe room.
Kristi Conatzer’s daughter Emily and Danni Legg’s son Christopher were in Plaza Towers on May 20th when a monster twister tore through Moore.
“It’s not an option that we had,” says Conatzer. “I definitely don’t want anybody standing in our shoes.”
“That never should have ever happened,” says Legg.
Since then they’ve both been fighting alongside take shelter Oklahoma protesting state politicians and their stance on shelters in schools. They want to see safe rooms in every school in the state.
“When we found out that Nichols Hills was going to be putting shelters into their school, I was so happy about it,” says Conatzer. “They are really paving the way. I really hate to see that go by the wayside.”
That’s why they were at Oklahoma City School’s board meeting, they want Nichols Hills parents to know how fortunate they are that they’re gymnasium project is being put on hold to consider including a safe room into the construction plans.
“It’s not a matter of if another tornado will come through Oklahoma,” says Legg. “It’s a matter of when and where.”
Conatzer and Legg both wish their children had something like this to protect them like a safe room that day in May.
“I think I owe it to my daughter. It’s her legacy and I don’t want to see any other children die the way they had to die,” says Conatzer. “A gym is a gym. It can double as a lifesaver. They need to take the time to consider that.”
As they decide, Conatzer and Legg hope Nichols Hills and the Oklahoma City School District remembers their Plaza Towers kids.
School board officials explained an error during Monday night’s meeting that may have caused Conatzer and Legg to think there may be opposition.
There was a procedural error with the vote at the last meeting so the board will vote again on Nov. 4.