Schoolhouse Beat

Survey finds more than 60 percent of Oklahoma public schools have no storm-safe areas

A survey of public schools in Oklahoma shows that more than 506,000 students, teachers and staff are not protected from severe weather such as the tornados that destroyed two schools in Moore earlier this year. TakeShelterOK.com says the report showed that 695 schools (38.5 percent of Oklahoma public schools) have some type of shelter area. The remaining 1,109 schools (61.5 percent of Oklahoma public schools) have no refuge or safe area of any kind. Of the 695 schools that have a shelter area, only 271 schools have a storm shelter that is designed to withstand 250-mph winds.

News release: An initiative petition drive is underway in Oklahoma seeking a statewide vote on providing storm shelters in public schools. The petition drive, called Take Shelter Oklahoma, comes in response to the death and devastation caused in May by tornadoes in the state. On May 20 alone, a twister destroyed two schools in Moore and took the lives of seven children at one of them, Plaza Towers Elementary. Supporters of the petition drive seek a statewide vote on a $500 million bond issue that would pay for construction of storm shelters. The petition needs nearly 160,000 registered voters.

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