03/03/07 — Losses, lessons: Now is time to check to see if Wayne facilities are up to par

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Losses, lessons: Now is time to check to see if Wayne facilities are up to par

No one could really have predicted the tornado that ripped through the hallways of an Alabama high school Thursday.

And those who were in charge of the students attending classes there will probably never stop playing over and over again in their minds what they could have done to better protect the teen-agers in their charge when the weather turned threatening.

And there might not have been anything that could have been done. It might have been an act of God that caused that tornado to turn toward that school. It will take a while to sort out the events of that day and to determine if there is a lesson to be learned or precautions that should have been taken.

For now, many of us are thinking about the families, students and staff at Enterprise High School. How hard it must be to handle so great a loss.

But as we remember those who died and offer support to their loved ones, we should be thinking about our own children and our schools.

What would we do if a tornado was sighted or predicted in our county? Do we have the buildings that would be able to offer protection for our children if such a storm ripped through our community? Are the procedures for keeping them safe practiced often enough? Do our students know what to do if they are faced with a rapidly moving weather emergency?

Over the next weeks and months, we will be talking about facilities and what this county needs to care for its children’s education. As we look at what we want — and what we can afford — we might want to consider the safety issues.

No building can be made disaster-proof, but there are steps that can be taken to ensure that as many safety options are available as possible. And if we know we have buildings that are questionable, now is the time to get busy getting a plan in place to replace them.

The town of Enteprise will never be the same. This was an enormous loss for any community to bear.

For Wayne County, it reminds school and community officials and parents to make sure our students and schools are ready if we should ever face such an emergency.

Published in Editorials on March 3, 2007 11:39 PM