School Climate & Safety

School Official Rides Out Storm

September 13, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Harrison County school district headquarters was about the only place that had electricity in coastal Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina and for more than a week afterward.

Thanks to an $83,000 gas-powered generator the district bought a few years ago, the offices of the 13,300-student district, which surrounds the cities and school districts of Gulfport and Biloxi, quickly became the hub of the storm-hammered community.

Henry Arledge, the superintendent of Harrison county, Miss., schools, sat in his district's main office as Hurricane Katrina raged outside.

District Superintendent Henry Arledge said here last week that he rode out the storm inside the building, mostly a metal-frame warehouse that also houses the district’s supply center and an alternative school. Around it, local businesses’ signs were blown out, power lines and poles were toppled, low-lying areas were flooded, and trees or debris littered every yard.

The district offices, which were air-conditioned and offered cold drinks and working rest rooms more than a week before any place else in Gulfport, quickly became a staging area for rescue workers. The Gulfport police moved in, and even relocated the county’s 911 emergency center to a room normally used for staff development. Nearby school systems, including the 2,000-student Pass Christian district, whose office was destroyed, also set up shop.

Mr. Arledge, who learned in his 26 years as the elected Harrison County superintendent to be ready for storms like Katrina, said some educators in his district waited out the storm at their schools, some of which were being used as shelters.

He bragged on Elmer Mullins, the principal of D’Iberville High School in the district, along with a school resource officer, for rescuing five county sheriff’s officers who were trapped in a sheriff’s office that was flooding during the storm. The principal had heard their calls for help over the radio, and drove a school bus through storm waters to find the officers, who swam to safety with their dogs.

“Our principals went through the hurricane trying to assist and help people make it through,” Mr. Arledge said.

The superintendent said he made sure to raise the American and Mississippi flags on the school headquarters’ flagpole the day after the storm. Everyone who entered the bustling offices and packed parking lot could see them.

“It shows you that we are going to come back,” Mr. Arledge said.

A version of this article appeared in the September 14, 2005 edition of Education Week as School Official Rides Out Storm


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Seamless Integrations for Engagement in the Classroom
Learn how to seamlessly integrate new technologies into your classroom to support student engagement. 
Content provided by GoGuardian
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety How to Spend $1 Billion in School Safety Funds: Here's What the Feds Recommend
A "Dear Colleague" letter from the Education Department puts a priority on creating inclusive, equitable school environments.
4 min read
The U.S. Department of Education urged schools to use federal funds to support the social, emotional, mental, and physical health needs of students in a "dear colleague" letter sent Sept. 15.
Third grader Alexis Kelliher points to her feelings while visiting a sensory room at Williams Elementary School in Topeka, Kan.
Charlie Riedel/AP
School Climate & Safety A Pair of Retired Military Officers Makes a Case Against Arming Teachers
Their comments come on a call organized by a national teachers' union pushing back against the school safety strategy.
3 min read
A man in a black polo shirt with short sleeves holds up a hand gun in front of a projector screen that shows a diagram of a gun with labeled parts.
Clark Aposhian, president of Utah Shooting Sport Council, holds a pistol during concealed weapons training for 200 Utah teachers, in West Valley City, Utah.
Rick Bowmer/AP
School Climate & Safety 'Cruel Prank' Led to Panic, Lockdown at Florida High School
A shooting scare was a “cruel prank" carried out by two groups of students who face criminal charges and possible expulsion, police said.
1 min read
Chain link fence and school building.
School Climate & Safety Opinion A World With Truly Safe Schools Is Possible
Human rights education can help end school shootings. Here’s how.
Rebecca Stephens
5 min read
Image of a chalk heart on a cracked pavement.
Laura Baker/Education Week and iStock/Getty