June 01, 2008,
J.L. asks from Darien, IL on May 30, 2008
Tornado Watch? Do I Send My Lo to School?
There is a tornado watch in my county and I have 2 kids in preschool, both take the bus. Do I send them to school during a tornado watch?? Should I call the school and see what they say? Need advice ASAP.
So What Happened?™
Thanks everyone for the advice and I am sorry some of you have had some horrible experiences. I did call the school (they both go to an elementary school that has an early childhood program) and although they are very rude there she advised me that they would be okay and to go ahead and send them. So, my first one is off to school and the next one goes in 1 hour and so far no rain yet. They had a special lunch picnic today with games and stuff so I didn't want them to miss it unless the school suggested they don't come today. Thanks again ladies I appreciate your input.
S.O. answers from Chicago on May 30, 2008
Since it is only preschool I would keep them home. Last fall when we had that horrible storm I wish my girls were home. I have 2 in high school. My oldest daughter was on her way home, a friend was driving. They were terrified by the time they made it home. A huge tree branch almost fell on their car! As soon as I saw them pull in the driveway, I yelled for them both to get in the basement. I also had my daughter's friend call her mom to let her know she was ok. My other daughter was at poms practice at Loyola Academy. After the storm went through here I could see it was heading for her and there was nothing I could do accept wait. Her coach did get everyone into the hallway and as soon as the storm past she had all the girls call their parents to let them know they were ok and poms was being canceled. I left right away to pick her up. When I got closer to her school trees and power lines were down everywhere. The roads were so flooded in areas I could not even see where to drive. Then another storm went through the area. Any other day it would take me 1 1 1/2 hours round trip to get her home from school. That day it took me 5 HOURS!!!!
S.S. answers from Chicago on May 31, 2008
Listen to this inner voice you have that tells you what to do in the middle of the night. There are not going to be busses in some cases if there are bad weather conditions. Schools have been called off. But sometimes there are people who are inexperienced and do not know when to call off school or keep kids where they are. I was a driver at a preschool once and left the job when they were trying to get me to take kids in a snowstorm. The bus got stuck twice with tiny children in it right in the parking lot. I left that job that day and would do it again (after the children were safe) -if someone tried to get me to put children in harm's way I would never want anyone hurt or scared. Point is you have your own inner voice that tells you the right from wrong thing. Check outside, check schools, but then listen to yourself. If it isn't right you will feel it.Then you keep them home. They are only little once.
M.S. answers from Chicago on May 30, 2008
I always have the same fears. On my daughter's 1st day of kindergarten last fall, we had a tornado pass directly over the school. I was terrified for her, but I ultimately had to trust the school and they that want my daughter to be safe.
But, having said that, it's just preschool and if you want to keep them home for your own peace of mind it certainly won't negatively affect their educational development. :)
Let's keep our fingers crossed that this watch stays a watch and doesn't turn into a warning!
K.Z. answers from Chicago on May 30, 2008
I wouldn't, that is just my opinion though.
W.S. answers from Chicago on May 30, 2008
You are right to be concerned about this. It's a good idea to ask your preschool what their procedures are during tornado watches - but more importantly - during tornado warnings. They should also have regular drills.
My daughter was in a daycare/preschool where they took no precautions whatsoever and I was shocked when I arrived to pick her up early right in the middle of a tornado warning (sirens were even going) and they were just doing business as usual. I pulled her out of there and now always ask.
Bus drivers should also have a procedure they follow, though I don't know what that is, maybe someone else here will know but you can bet I will be asking the bus driver when my daughter starts K this Fall.
As someone who lost everything in the big tornado of '90 (flattened entire house and all possessions were blown away) in Plainfield when we also lost three of our schools - I take these tornado watches and warnings very seriously. I don't have a fear, but I do respect what can happen and it shouldn't be taken lightly.
J.R. answers from Chicago on May 30, 2008
though I'm sure you are already past the point of making this decision, it is important to ask the preschool what their procedures are.
My children go to schools (grade school and middle school)here in Bolingbrook, and more than once there have been cases where at the time they typically let out, the area was experiencing very bad weather. Our school will not dismiss the kids during a downpour, a severe thunderstorm warning and definitely NOT during a tornado warning with sirens actively going off. Though, I have found that they seem to sound the sirens far more often than they ever did when I was a kid.. it used to be reserved for times when a funnel cloud was actually spotted.
I really hate this weather.... I spend the day with knots in my stomach. (I was camping once as a kid when a tornado hit our campsite - I will never forget it) Two kids are at different schools, and I have two babies at home with me. I watch the skies like a hawk from every window in the house and always have the weather channel radar in motion on my computer...
Good luck to you - hope you and your loved ones are safe today.
L.F. answers from Chicago on May 31, 2008
Let me put it this way "No place is ever truly safe."
Sending your children is a very personal decision. How often have you had tornados in your city? There are two sides to the decision. One do not send them and possible create a mixed message of fear or other things can and will allow us to stay home attitude. Two children do better with routine. I would send my son. Chances are the school building would do better in a storm. I would just keep an eye on the sky and be close to the phone. Trust in God.
The best explanation I have for my attitude is this. I saw a man training children about bad people and the bad things that happen in life. Most people are like sunny days they smile and are happy. Then there are the rainy day people who are sad. Thunder storm people are volital but gone quickly. Tornados and hurricanes are rare and do damage. So weather and people are much the same.
The micro burst or tornado went through here yesterday. It was amazing to hear and watch it at work. We did not lose electricity. The street lights were out arround us. They had to close a main road because trees and power lines.
P.H. answers from Chicago on June 01, 2008
It is preschool. Don't send them. they are safer with you.
Are you home when they go and return? By all means call the school.
T.B. answers from Chicago on May 31, 2008
I used to work at a daycare and they should have a radio that is tuned to the local police and weather alert systems that does alarm in the office in case someone isn't really listening all the time. Ask to see if you school has one. Also we get numerous calls normally from parents at work watching the storm on the internet and giving us updates! They also should have fire evacuation and tornado procedures printed and displayed in each classroom. Normally posted by the door. This is a DCF requirement! Hope this all helps to assure you of your child's safety. Just check and make sure your facility is following this!
J.J. answers from Springfield on May 31, 2008
The weather can be bad sometimes but we can't stop everything for a watch. I "watch" is exactly that, a "watch". If the weather seems unusually bad that day then maybe wait if you would like but the school will take precautions also. I am one that does not run to the basement every time the siren sounds, I just watch and go by my instincts. (that's how I have grown up). Do what feels right for you, but be careful because if you show to much stress during a storm (a watch) then your children will learn that also. Say a prayer, and hang in there.