Selma schools getting back on track after destructive tornado

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 7:05 PM CST
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SELMA, Ala. (WSFA) - School resumed in Selma a few days after a devastating EF2 tornado rocked the community on Jan. 12.

The transition has been easy for some, but for those who lost their homes it’s been a challenge.

Selma City Schools community and family engagement specialist Cynthia Milledge said most students have returned to the classroom but several are living in hotels.

“Because their homes have been either destroyed or they are unadaptable for them to live in at this moment,” Milledge said.

Milledge said as of Wednesday they have about four students who have not been able to return to the classroom and have had to relocate.

“They’ve either suffered damage to their homes or they have lost their homes, and many of them have moved to other places outside of Selma,” she said.

The school district has eight campuses. The School of Discovery housed in the old Knox Elementary School building was the only campus that suffered significant damage. School officials say repairs have begun and students have been moved to R.B. Hudson Middle School.

On the day of the storm, administrators made the decision to not to dismiss students to their homes. It’s a decision career tech director William Powell says saved lives.

“Our schools are designed to withstand far beyond what a traditional residential home may be able to withstand, so to know that there were no fatalities was one of the best things that could have happened,” Powell said.

The district says they have received an outpouring of support from local, state and federal partners.

They’ve held several distribution events to provide uniforms, toiletries and other needed items for students, but they do need more help. Officials are mainly asking for gift cards to local restaurants, grocery stores and hotels.

School officials have confirmed that Selma High School is no longer being used as a Red Cross shelter. In the days after the storm, it provided victims with meals and a warm place to stay.

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