Deadly Tornado Crushes Oklahoma Schools

By Lesli A. Maxwell — May 20, 2013 1 min read
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At least two schools were destroyed and children were among the fatalities today after a massive tornado struck the Oklahoma City area, multiple news outlets were reporting.

The huge twister that tore through the suburban community of Moore, Okla., killed at least 51 people. It wasn’t yet clear late Monday night how many children and adults in the two elementary schools that were in the storm’s direct path were killed or injured. Rescue efforts remained underway Monday night to search for and dig out people buried in debris.

The Associated Press reported that the tornado ripped the roof off Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, and that children from the school were among the dead.

In a press conference Monday night, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said, “Our hearts are broken for the parents that are wondering about the state of their children that had been in the schools that have been hit today,” Gov. Fallin said. “I know that there are families wondering where their loved ones are.”

Briarwood Elementary School in Moore also took a direct hit from the tornado that clocked 200-mile-per-hour winds and remained on the ground for as long as 40 minutes, the AP reported. No injuries were reported at that school.

Both Briarwood and Plaza Towers are part of the 23,000-student Moore school district, which is Oklahoma’s third largest system.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.