NEA Mourns for Oklahoma in Wake of Tornado Tragedy
By Edward Graham
A massive tornado ripped through Oklahoma yesterday afternoon, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds more as it carved a 22-mile long path of destruction across parts of southern Oklahoma City and its surrounding suburbs.
In the city of Moore, the almost two-mile wide twister heavily damaged Briarwood Elementary School and leveled Plaza Towers Elementary School as 75 teachers and students sought refuge inside. At least seven students are among the confirmed dead, and dozens more are being treated at local hospitals and medical centers for their injuries. An untold number of students and teachers remain unaccounted for as rescue workers continue to rescue survivors from the rubble left in the twister’s wake.
“There are no words to convey our sorrow over the tragic loss that has been suffered by Oklahoma’s families,” said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. “Our hearts are broken over the students and educators killed in the storm and we commend the educators who put their lives on the line to protect the children in these schools—every single one is a hero who will not be forgotten. We will stand with the families of those lost and injured and the communities suffering as they work to rebuild their homes and their lives.”
“The more than 3 million members of the NEA family stand ready to help OEA and the Moore, Okla., community however we can in the days and weeks ahead,” said Van Roekel.
The Oklahoma Education Association is establishing a disaster relief fund to assist those who have been affected by the tornado. For updates, please visit the OEA homepage.
NEA has a number of valuable resources available online to help students, schools, and communities recover from crisis events like the tornado.
- NEA Health Information Network’s School Crisis Resources
- School Crisis Guide
- Lessons on Loss: How a school community heals after student loss
Photo: Associated Press