Local schools prepare for severe weather

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TEXOMA -- As severe weather threatens the area, local schools say they're prepared for potential disasters.

Gerald Parks, Calera Public Schools superintendent, said they practice tornado drills throughout the year.

"We've got all the steps in place, we just need to react," he said. "It's very organized, and the students do a really good job."

Calera has a storm shelter built into the Early Childhood Education Center.

"We can have all 650 kids from our school in this facility in about five minutes," he said.

The students are well disciplined and know exactly where to go during the drills, Parks said.

"The students come in, they line up, start in the middle of the room and fill up to the outside," he said.

But planning isn't as simple for Sherman ISD, with many schools scattered throughout the city.

Superintendent Al Hambrick said they have different policies in place for each school. And each school conducts drills throughout the year.

"Students have been taught - and staffers have been taught - how to position themselves for safety."

Parks said the last time Calera dealt with a serious tornado was in the '80s - and the emergency procedures were much different.

That was before they built the storm shelter, he said.

"All the students were instructed to go into the hallway, line the hallway, sit down, and stick their hands over their heads" he said.

Hambrick said he's never faced a tornado at Sherman ISD.

Although there are no storm shelters at Sherman schools, Hambrick said he's confident teachers and students know how to react and stay safe during an emergency.

"And sometimes, we are safer if we keep them in the facility than if we put them in the middle of it, on buses," Hambrick said.

Sherman ISD advises all parents to make sure the school has the correct contact information on file, so they can keep parents up to date with their automated phone system.

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