Parents Concerned About Mansfield ISD’s Severe Weather Policy

MANSFIELD (CBSDFW.COM) – The students of Mansfield ISD’s Kenneth Davis Elementary School were right back to work Wednesday.

The library was filled with two dozen children completing work on laptops.  Parent volunteer Nanette Dennis was back at her post in the library as well, recounting the rush of children to safety one day before.  “They (teachers) had kids in their places. Within ten seconds, the school was quiet and ready,” Dennis said.

The 600 students of the school were ushered into designated sections, and placed in emergency duck and cover positions in preparation for possible tornadoes.  “The teachers did an impeccable job,” Dennis said.

That assessment was in stark contrast to other parents of students in other Mansfield ISD schools.  “My high school kids had no idea what was going on around them,” parent Tiffani Hendrix complained.

There was no duck and cover at Legacy High School, or 12 other MISD campuses.  The schools that did not initiate emergency response were not in danger areas, according to district officials.

The school district’s police department advises individual school principals of severe weather conditions.  The administrators, with the assistance of law enforcement, decide whether to implement the campus emergency plan.  27 Mansfield schools followed “duck and cover” procedures on Tuesday, but 13 other schools didn’t.

The district says one school that did duck and cover is Alice Ponder Elementary School.  But Rogene Worley Middle School, less than a quarter of a mile away, did not.

Hendrix said the policy is disconcerting. “You leave your kids with these schools, and you expect them all to follow the same protocol,” she said.

School district spokesman Richie Escovedo said Mansfield ISD’s boundary lines, which includes the communities of Grand Prairie, Arlington and Mansfield, must assess emergency situations individually.  “Each campus administrator is trained through our emergency response team.  They take the safety and security of students very seriously.”

More from Steve Pickett
  • AK

    If the bad weather siren is sounding in any city or surrounding city. You should take cover not matter what. you never know when a storm may decided to change corse and head that way. I understand the parents feelings on this one.

    • AK

      *no matter

  • JJ

    We don’t have sirens in Mansfield, but you’re right AK. If we did have them, they would have been on. Then what? Would the district still allow each school to decide whether or not to ignore those?

    • Pam T

      There are sirens in Mansfield. They were sounded several times during the storms on Tuesday.

      • T. Ferguson

        You’re wrong, Pam T. Mansfield certainly does not have tornado sirens. Any sirens you heard were located in other cities which are smart enough to have them. Don’t believe me? Call Mansfield City Hall and ask.

  • CK

    Grand Prairie High let students out while the sirens were going off. I could not believe it. I cant believe parents are not upset by that. We have heard about other cities were parents were upset by the schools bad weather policies but not GP

    • Mica

      I agree. My sons school did not allow him to leave. (Dubiski) But Adams middle school had my son still in a classroom with windows!!

  • KK

    I had kids on two different campuses, Mary Orr, had duck and cover for well over an hour and Worley Middle School, which took NO preventative measures. Meanwhile the HS’s were releasing their students at 2:30 to drive home during the storms!
    Get it together! This isn’t the first time this has happened in MISD – that’s why I go pick up my children when imminent weather is approaching and we take cover together. At least I know where they are and we are together.

    Even crazier, they didn’t keep parents in the know, so parents were having to leave during the storm and sit outside schools awaiting dismissal in their vehicles.

  • Mansfield ISD

    From the MISD Inclement Weather Procedures blog post: “During a typical springtime-like weather event (i.e. tornado or severe thunderstorms), Mansfield ISD will take measures to keep students and staff safe:
    – Safe places have been established for each MISD campus and building, students and staff will gather in these safe places;
    – MISD Police stays in constant communication with local emergency services and advises campus administrators when the need arises to implement school procedures such as duck and cover, red alert, and shelter in place (lockdown)…
    – Since the district covers 94.5 square miles, measures will be taken based on the needs of only the affected campus(es).

    Please note, Mansfield ISD conducts routine drills to reinforce proper weather procedures. Just like when inclement winter conditions occur, weather severity and road conditions can vary greatly from area to area so we plan and adjust accordingly.”


    • SMR

      MISD’s decision to stand behind this policy really concerns me. My children have gone entire school years without having one single duck-and-cover drill. They do shelter-in-place, but it is not the same. In fact, my Third Grader had no idea what proper duck-and-cover position was until the tornado warning this week. Do we really think that our children are more likely to be injured by a crazed gunman than a tornado? I don’t.

      I live close to Legacy High, which took no precautions during the storm. Code Red Emergency Notification System sent me several phone calls urging me to “take immediate shelter” because the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for my area. If I were in danger at my house, then certainly the students at Legacy were in the same danger. That tornado could easily and quickly have changed track. At Summit High, the students did take safety measures. How could Summit High be in danger while Legacy was not, and my house in between the two was in danger? MISD should not be overruling the safety decisions of the NWS. This policy needs to change. Tornado season is far from over, and we need to ensure the safety of every child in the school district.

    • Pam T

      Seems like the Mansfield Schoold Districts Police should have contacted the Superintendents office and the deciding word should come from there.

      Last year Mansfield HIgh School had no electricity – the principal made the decision to dismiss the students although the Superintendents office never told the school to dismiss them.

      Seems there’s a lack of communication from the head office to the schools. With the emergency sirens blaring – all the schools should have implemented emergency procedures. Using the excuse of how many miles are in the district is unacceptable.

  • Mica

    GPISD had me as a parent concerned when I found out my 12 year old 7th grader was taking cover in a classroom with windows. How does that protect the children? Really disconcerting.

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  • DCinDFW

    Duck and cover or not, the safest place for our kids in that type of weather is in a school campus. Most of the buildings meet safety codes that can withstand virtually any type of weather short of an F5 tornado. Parents trying to pick up kids in that type of weather is moronic. The tornado was miles away from Mansfield and headed in the opposite direction which is why it was handled in that manner. This school district has never failed in protecting either of my students when the time came and I have full faith in their decision making processes. I’m surprised Pickett is wasting his time on fluff like this when CBS should be concentrating on assisting those that were TRULY affected by the tornado.

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