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School districts prepared if severe weather strikes while kids are in class

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Severe weather season is in full swing and school is still in session. When both mix, often times parents worry about their child's safety. Most districts say that doesn't mean you should go and pick them up in the middle of a severe weather situation.

A firm reminder of how devastating the season happened nearly one year ago. Moore, Oklahoma was hit by a devastating EF-5 tornado on May 20, 2013 that killed seven students at Plaza Towers Elementary school. Schools in the metro take notice of these tragedies to better prepare themselves for the worst possible scenario.

"It is your absolute worst nightmare," said David Smith, who is the Chief of Staff for Kansas City Kansas Public School’s Communication Department.

Smith said the district just switched to a new system called the “Standard Response Protocol” which means students have to "shelter in place" in case of a tornado.

"It's our responsibility to take care of your kids we will shelter those kids," Smith said.
Because of that policy, parents shouldn't try to go to the schools to get their kids during a storm.

"If we're going to protect our kids and protect our staff, we can't be at the door, letting kids in and out, parents in and out," Smith said.

Kenicah Craddock says she trusts the district to keep her three kids safe.

"I believe that having my kids in their safety that everything will be fine. I like the way that they operate and everything," she said.

She did admit that storms happening while her kids are in school make her nervous.

The district has go-bags and go-buckets filled with essentials to make sheltering in place a bit more comfortable in case a storm does sweep through. They include a flashlight, toilet paper, a first aid kit and other supplies.

Here are some general policies for several metro area school districts:

In Blue Springs if a tornado warning is in effect at dismissal time, students will take a safe position and remain at school until the all-clear is given.

At Blue Valley, parents are told not to come to school if a tornado happens during the school day. Kids will be allowed to go home when everything is safe.

In Kansas City, Missouri, parents will be encouraged not to pick up their kids until the all clear is sounded.

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