(Hernando, MS) When a powerful tornado hit Smithville, Mississippi, it destroyed the local elementary school.
DeSoto School Superintendent Milton Kuykendall says if school leaders hadn’t sent children home, they might all had died when the building collapsed, ”All the tragic tornadoes around has really made us more weather conscious”.
That’s why he watches the weather and cancels school when severe weather is imminent.
But now, through a new federal grant, he’s going to build special shelters for some DeSoto Schools, ”These rooms are supposed to be able to withstand a tornado and FEMA and MEMA pay 95% of it and we pay 5%."
He plans to spread the shelters throughout DeSoto County.
Six schools will get the new “safe rooms” all with a population of 800 or less, so everyone can fit in the shelter.
Hernando, Hope Sullivan, Horn Lake, Lewisburg, Olive Branch and Walls Elementary schools will all get the shelters.
Kuykendall hopes it will save lives, because he doesn’t want to send children home in bad weather, ”If you send ‘em home, you gotta send ‘em home where they got time to be home. You don’t wanna send ‘em out and ‘em be on a bus."
He hopes to find other grants to eventually expand the safe rooms to every DeSoto School.