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“Superintendent Shealy made the decision to dismiss school yesterday” – Kilroy



Beechwood Elementary at the height of the storm. Screengrab from live video by David Day
Redwood Elementary at the height of the storm. Screengrab from live video by David Day

With storms approaching the Vicksburg Warren School District chose to run the busses and open the schools. Then, at 10:31, they chose to close the schools.

Parents were angered at the short notice and then at the timing of the closure, with some having less than 30 minutes notice to get their children. As it turned out, hundreds of children ended up being stuck at school because of the approaching weather.

The Vicksburg Daily News reached out to VWSD Media Specialist Christi Kilroy for an explanation. In an email, Kilroy said, “The District’s decisions about yesterday’s dismissal were made after ongoing consultation with transportation, emergency management, and weather authorities and were based on the best information available at the time about the expected timing of the storm.  When the weather changed unexpectedly, reliable safety protocols were followed to ensure the safety of students and staff. Thanks to the hard work of our teachers, staff, bus drivers, safety resource officers, administrators and leaders, all students arrived home safely.”

Additionally, a link to the school board policy and procedures was offered. In the link, the policy states the superintendent has the responsibility of making the decision after consulting with various departments and agencies. He then notifies the school board.

The Vicksburg Daily News asked Kilroy, in an email, “The attached policy indicates it is the Superintendents decision. Can you confirm he is the one who made the decision yesterday?”

Superintendent Chad Shealy

Chad Shealy (Photo from VWSD)

Kilroy responded, “After consulting transportation, emergency management, weather authorities, and others, Superintendent Shealy made the decision to dismiss school yesterday as per board policy.”

The storms had been predicted for several days and the Vicksburg Daily News reported at 6:44 a.m. that the storm would begin around 11 a.m. At 6:59 a.m. we posted a story including the quote from Emergency Management Director John Elfer, “Those school buildings are robust and offer a level of protection that a single-family structure or mobile home cannot. Plus they have a tornado plan in place.” At 10:08 a.m. we posted a story warning the storm was imminent and at 10:41 a.m. we posted a live report showing the storm moving well into the area.

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