81 buses, 5.8K Dickson County students forced to find shelter during storm

Photo: WKRN

DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tornado warnings never come at a good time. This was especially true Tuesday in Dickson County when the warning came as school was letting out.

Eighty-one school buses were on the road with 5,800 students of all ages, according to Melissa Garton, the transportation Coordinator for Dickson County Schools.

“I was very scared knowing that the kids were gone and I couldn’t get to them,” said Denise Stinson, whose daughter Haley is a third grade student at Stuart-Burns Elementary School.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

Stinson told News 2 she was impressed with how the district reacted to the weather.

“Knowing that they turned buses around to keep them safe was just very calming to me as a mom,” she said.

Tristan King, a Dickson County High School student, was on one of those buses. He was also pleased with how the district handled the weather situation as his bus turned around to seek shelter.

“I think they handled it the way they were supposed to. We went in inside and we ducked down like there was a real tornado right above us,” King explained.

About 100 students took shelter in the school for half an hour.

Principal Madonna Walker said the plan went off without a hitch.

“We received the alert yesterday as we were loading students on to the buses, so immediately we wanted to make sure all of our students were safe,” she said.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

“We dismissed all of our students from the cafeteria into the hallways and then off-loaded 12 buses and brought high school and middle school as well as other elementary school students into the building and also put them into a safe place in the hallway,” she continued.

About 50 other students took shelter at First Baptist Church.

“The bus driver of course knew. He had to get the kids to the safest spot that he could get them to so this was the closest area to him,” said Garton.

Associate Pastor Steve Shepard was at the church when the bus pulled up. He took students in, no questions asked.

“I mean it was a no brainier. We just were doing what Jesus would have done in the situation just to take care of the kids,” he said.

“They’re willing to help in a moment’s notice and we really appreciate that,” said Garton.

She told News 2 every bus driver in the district goes through training every year to handle weather situations.

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