MARTENSDALE, Iowa -- Chloe Husted and her twin brother, Kobe said their bus ride on Wednesday was like none other.
“Lots of kids were saying they were gonna die or something,” she said.
Despite Wednesday's tornado warning, the twins along with about 150 other Martensdale–St. Mary elementary and junior high students were dismissed early and told to ride the bus home.
“It was really frightening. I didn`t know what was gonna happen,” said Kobe. Meanwhile he heard his sister trying to calm down other students.
“I was trying to tell all the kids to quit screaming on the bus because they were screaming really bad,” Chloe said.
However, other students who normally walk or drive home were told by administration to stay in the school's storm shelters.
After watching the forecast, the district says it chose to send students who ride the bus home to beat the weather.
Superintendent Tom Wood says he did not see any warning for tornado threats until after the buses left on their routes.
“At the time when the buses started to arrive before 3 p.m. we knew there were strong storms with heavy rain and lighting. There was no threat of a tornado,” said Wood. “Had we known there was a tornado we wouldn’t have done it.”
Wood apologized for frustrated and concerned parents but said the time frame of the storm made decision making tough.
“We made the best decision we could with the information we had at the time. The situation changed on us in the middle of it and that is where complications arose,” he said.
Several metro school districts kept its students indoors while the storms passed. Husted’s mother says overall she trusts the district but is trying to make sense of the district’s decision .
“I don`t know what they were thinking or who made that decision but it was a wrong one I believe,” said Jami Husted. “The kids are not their children. They are other people’s children and I think their safety needs to come first.”
The district says its reviewing it policies and will not discuss the issue at next Mondays parent teacher organziation meeting.