More tornado drills proposed

Schools would be required to implement a more stringent tornado drill policy under a bill heard by the Education Committee Jan. 27.

LB741, introduced by Gretna Sen. John Murante, would require each public school board to adopt a policy and response plan that includes:
• at least three tornado drills per year;
• a diagram showing a visible route to tornado shelters;
• provisions relating to safe and orderly movement of students and staff to a sheltered area; and
• what to do when a tornado siren is sounded.

Andrew Dolan, an elementary school student, testified in support of the bill. He said his school has numerous fire drills but only one tornado drill each year.

“Tornadoes can appear quickly and cause a lot of damage,” he said. “This will make schools safer for students and staff because we will be better prepared.”

Norris Public Schools Superintendent John Skretta also supported the bill, saying that tornado safety has a new importance to him after a May 2004 tornado destroyed his school.

“The simple educational standard addressed in this bill is that repetition is essential to learning,” Skretta said. “These provisions can be readily complied with. Vigilance is our single best asset.”

No one testified in opposition and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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