Parents Mad After Bomb Threat

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Oakdale (WVLT) - As temperatures climbed into the triple digits today, so did some parents tempers in Morgan County. A bomb threat caused an evacuation of Oakdale School sending kids to area churches in the heat.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt talked with some parents who say they're most upset they were never notified!

Parents we talked to have two main concerns: Why weren't we notified and why were our children put out in the heat? We also spoke with the director of schools who assures us every proper procedure was followed.

It was already in the mid 80s Thursday morning and because of a bomb threat, students pre-K through 12 from Oakdale School were taken by bus to area churches around 9:30.

"I found out they were at the church, without good air conditioning and so I went and got them," parent Shana York said.

When Shana York got to the church everything was safe, but she and Michelle Johnson didn't like what they saw.

"Some of the kids were outside, some were inside," Johnson said. "The church was very hot, it was hotter inside the church than it was outside the church."

But that's not the only thing that got their tempers blazing.

"My main concern was they were taken off the school premises without anyone knowing. What if there was an accident, what if I needed to get in touch with my kids? I didn't know where they were," York said.

Director of Schools Mike Davis says the two churches have been designated evacuation spots for two years and parents should know the procedures.

"They have been informed by newsletter and information from the schools," Davis said.

And he says for emergencies, a local radio station helps get information to parents, but he says they're looking into a new program.

"It's called alert now and we're looking at implementing that in order to notify parents within the first minute or two of any kind of emergency," Davis said.

But when Michelle tried to take her kids home.

"We were told, if we do pick up our children, they would be counted absent for that day," Johnson said.

"That's state law, when school's in session and a child leaves then they are counted absent, and to do otherwise would be a violation," Davis said.

These mom's say all they just want to know their kids are safe.

"I feel we have the right as parents to know where our children are. If they're off the school property, I should have the right to know," Johnson said.

Michelle and Shana tell us they plan to go to the next school board meeting to voice their concerns. Davis says it is difficult to make calls to almost 500 parents, especially when the building needs to be evacuated. He says the children were safe at all times, and that is their number one priority.

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  • by Oakdale Parent Location: Oakdale on Aug 28, 2007 at 10:45 AM
    I thank GOD and the school staff for the safety of our children. My child was able to contact me and also was fed a very good lunch. Again, thank you school staff for a job well done. No one was left at the school. No one was seriously injured. My child came home safely and I am very thankful. That's what counts!
  • by maggie nola on Aug 27, 2007 at 10:55 PM
    i think the kids should have all gotten lobster to go, and been given complimentary cowboy hats. yeehaw. go vols.
  • by Anti Palladin Location: Oakdale on Aug 27, 2007 at 01:40 PM
    Unless you know what you are talking about and have read the other comments....don't comment. WE ARE NOT MAD THEY WERE MOVED....WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHERE ARE KIDS ARE!!!! BOTTOM LINE. They did not have a problem getting in touch with us about the air why not use the same method (tv,radio, etc.) to let us know where are children are. I WILL WHINE until I know where my children are!
  • by palladin Location: knoxville on Aug 27, 2007 at 04:14 AM
    stop your whining. would you rather your kids stay in a building which could possibly contain an explosive. until some kind of automated system is in place (and paid for from your tax money) it doesn't sound feasible for officials to give every household a personal phone call. i'm sure you could have done a better job if you were given the responsibility.
  • by Oakdale Parent Location: Oakdale on Aug 25, 2007 at 02:07 PM
    No one was bashing the teachers...who said these parents were? The parents involved were saying they should have been school officials! The teachers were told not to call...WHY? My facts are straight....air conditioners were turned on after the children got there but it was already mid 80's and the air conditioning units were not able to cool as fast as they could because of the amount of children that were in the church. When I picked up my child, the teachers were apologizing (when it was not their fault) and they were complaining about the heat. I agree the teachers are not to blame but the parents should have been notified via radio/tv, etc. I am not protraying my community as evil I am saying the parents should be notified. It is not the little stuff I worry about as one parent said....I didn't care my child was moved but the "big stuff" does bother me and I should have been notified of the situation.
  • by Bothered Location: Harriman on Aug 24, 2007 at 11:28 PM
    To those of you writing negative comments,think about what you are saying. First of all, you are portraying your community as some evil and uncaring place. This is so far from the case and I am disappointed that WVLT only showed one side of the story. I was someone involved in the evacuation and I personally had time to walk out of a classroom and grab another class to get them to safety, leaving my own belongings in the building. When it comes to an emergency, you don't worry about the little stuff. You worry about getting out alive. If there was a fire, would you want us to have your children line up so that they could call home and let you know there was fire. No......... We did what we were told and trained to do, keep your children safe at any expense. I will do it again, even if it means for ME to sit outside with no shade for 3 hours to ensure your child's safety. I commend all Oakdale staff for the awesome job they did.
  • by Mike Location: Oakdale on Aug 24, 2007 at 08:53 PM
    Why is everyone mad at the teachers and principal? Shouldn't we be angry with the person who called in and threatened our children. Perhaps our energies would be better spent trying to help find ways to prevent this in the future and to help locate the caller and see that he is rightly punished?
  • by oakdale resident Location: oakdale on Aug 24, 2007 at 08:49 PM
    Speaking of getting facts straight, james and others need to do the same before they make comments. The churches do have air conditioners, they just aren't kept on constantly to save on electric bills. They were turned on once the children got there. Also, do you really want your child to remain on the premesis an extra hour until all parents are notified and pray a real bomb doesn't go off. A newsletter was sent home last year about this stuff, perhaps you just don't thoroughly read yours. As for teachers using cell phones, I know I do not get a signal at Crab Orchard church. I know we have to fill out all kinds of emergency info for teachers, but teachers don't keep these numbers and their cell phones tucked in their waist bands. When teachers are told to get out of the building immediately do you really expect them to take the children back to their rooms just to get numbers instead of getting out immediatly. Don't bash our teachers, be happy everyone is safe.
  • by James Location: Oakdale on Aug 24, 2007 at 06:31 PM
    I just read all the comments listed so far about the bomb threat at my childs school. I will tell you that my full name is James Hicks and Michelle and Shaina both Babysit my seven year old daughter for me. The so called comments left by people outside this community need to get their facts straight before leaving one. Yes, it is your opinion and this is mine. Oakdale did do the right thing keeping the children safe, my anger is towards not being notified for a "second" time of a bomb threat. I do think I have the right to know where my child is. Far as a radio station being notified, well my line of work I do not have the ability to listen to the radio all day. If the school had blowed up when would I have been notified? I expect my child to be on school grounds at all times, unless notified ahead of time. To my knowledge I never recieved a newsletter of any kind about evacuation process for this type of emergency. Michelle & Shaina thank you for keeping my child safe as your own.
  • by Oakdale Parent Location: Oakdale on Aug 24, 2007 at 04:25 PM
    I have been a substitute at the school before. You cannot imagine what it is like being with a classroom full of kids. Instead of being negative about the situation, why don't we thank our teachers for caring for our children. I cannot imagine what the teachers felt like being cooped up in a church with 250 plus kids, in very hot conditions, with nothing to entertain them with. My son did say the teachers got up in the front of the church and led them in songs to give them something to do for the 3 hours they were there. I know the teachers consider our children like their own. I appreciate what they endured for the safety of our children. Thank you to all of them.
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