Tennessee and Alabama were no strangers to storms today. Schools in all surrounding counties, including mine, closed early. The students, teachers, and parents here in southern Tennessee were blessed. We safely loaded children either into the car with parents or on the school bus and sent them home without any problems. One school in the nearby state of Alabama was not so fortunate.
At around 12:45 this afternoon, a tornado hit Enterprise High School in Enterprise, Alabama. The school stadium was destroyed. Cars in the parking lot were turned over and trees were tossed around. One hallway in the school building collapsed. To great dismay, students were inside. My research indicates that there were fifteen fatalities in the school. I have not read or heard if the fifteen were students or staff. Other members of the school were injured and trapped under the roof.
After hearing this story, I involuntarily began putting myself into three positions. I cannot imagine being at school during a disaster such as this. My school practices for these types of emergencies once a month. No one could ever practice enough for what these people faced today.
As a teacher, it would be very difficult to keep it ‘together’ during a time like this. I can only imagine how teachers feared for their own lives and the lives of their family members outside of the school. I also know how teachers build a parental relationship with students. I am certain that the teachers were also putting themselves aside and assuming responsibility for the students. Losing a student must be the closest thing to losing your own child.
As a parent, I do not even want to imagine the scenario of being away from my children during a disaster. Hearing the news on the radio or driving up to the school and seeing the devastation must have been horrific. The moment of unknowing the fate of your child would have to be a terrible moment to endure.
As a student, your life is now changed forever. These children have seen and experienced an event that will live forever in their minds. They will never again dismiss the sound of thunder or the forecast of possible severe storms.
To everyone in enterprise, Alabama, or any other town that has experienced a disaster such as this one, my prayers and thoughts are with you.
Planning for Emergencies at School