The Moore (Okla.) district will pay $14,000 each to the families of seven children killed in a May 2013 tornado that destroyed the elementary school they attended.
The Oklahoman reports that the payments will settle lawsuits brought by the families of the children, who were students at Plaza Towers Elementary School. They were among 25 people who died on May 20, 2013, when an EF5 tornado tore through Moore. Plaza Towers was one of two elementary campuses destroyed by the storm.
"Although we know that nothing can ever replace the life of a child, the district and district's insurance carrier made the difficult decision to settle with each of the families of the deceased children for approximately $14,000," Superintendent Robert Romines said in a news release.
The students who were killed were Sydney Angle, Antonia Candelaria, Emily Conatzer, Kyle Davis, Ja'Nae Hornsby, Christopher Legg and Nicholas McCabe.
The tornado also destroyed Briarwood Elementary, Moore's District Technology Center, and a large portion of the Highland East Junior High campus.
Plaza Towers and Briarwood have been rebuilt, and the new buildings include safe rooms built to withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour. Last year, Moore voters approved a $209 million bond issue to put safe rooms in the nearly two dozen schools that didn't already have them.
In the release, Romines said it "became evident" during legal proceedings that the families of the children began to believe that the classroom addition at Plaza Towers was defectively constructed after reading what the superintendent labeled as unfounded allegations by a civil engineer.
"Those comments were determined by expert testimony in the litigation to be completely unfounded," Romines stated in the release. "Throughout litigation it became evident that our emergency procedures were proper and correctly followed."