Yes, I have taken hard jabs at the issues of schools dismissing students early or cancelling classes for severe weather since this was more likely an overreaction to 2013 Moore EF-5 tornado that (sadly) demolished two elementary schools. The National Weather Service has a list of 28 damage indicators, including public schools.
A quick glance can tell you that it normally takes at least EF-4 tornado to trash a public school, but it only takes an EF-2 to completely destroy a mobile home. The Forbes article “Move Over, Snow Days- Is This The Era of ‘Tornado Days’ For School Systems?” added that it is difficult to know where students live, and some students live in mobile homes or poorly built houses. It is actually safer for students to stay in school during severe weather in most cases.
There are some suggested solutions for the issue. The Forbes article suggested keeping students in schools until severe weather passes. In my opinion, that would make a lot of sense, especially if the school has large student population that is in poverty. However, that would face a stiff opposition, especially from parents, especially after the Moore tornado.
How about good ole tornado drill and preparedness? I definitely remember tornado drills at schools since pre-K. Preparedness is the key, and the children can learn basic tornado safety at young age.
However, no matter what is the best or most logical solution to deal with the situation, it is not going to be easy. Even Spock could not do much beyond making suggestions.
The KGOU article pointed out that it can be difficult to convince the parents as they would point to Moore tornado. One can try explaining that a violent tornado hitting at least one school, such as aforementioned twister, was rather very unlikely and schools on average can offer better protection than homes, especially poorly built ones. Though tragic, there are very limited options should a tornado coming for home turn out to be violent. At the end of the day, this issue is muddier than it looks on the surface, and there is no solution that would satisfy everyone.
I am a trained spotter and weather enthusiast who spent years enjoying learning about weather. I provide my thoughts and commentaries, sometimes with light humor.