MOORE, Okla. – Communities in the tornado-prone Midwest are increasingly building "safe rooms" in public schools. But this week's deadly tornado near Oklahoma City highlights how storm protection in the nation's schools is inconsistent.
Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven students were killed, did not have a safe room. Several other schools in the area did.
In response to the tornado, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has announced the creation of a state fund to accept donations for the construction of safe rooms. And a state lawmaker proposed a $500 million bond issue to help finance storm shelters.
The rooms are expensive, costing up to $1 million, depending on size. Oklahoma has already distributed federal grants for safe rooms to more than 100 schools. But most schools still lack them.