MOORE — David Slane wanted to make sure he was heard loud and clear. When he stood next to a chain linked fence Wednesday outside Plaza Towers Elementary School, the attorney from Moore had to speak up over the construction taking place to rebuild the school after the May 20, 2013, tornado.
“For five hours, I didn’t know whether my children were dead or alive in the Moore schools, at Brink and at Southmoore,” Slane said. “You couldn’t find out. No parent should ever send their child to school wondering if they are going to return.
“All of us felt it that day in Moore. We have to learn the lesson. We cannot forget those students have to be protected.”
Speaking to the contingent of media and residents on hand, Slane and his group, Take Shelter Oklahoma, announced their intention to ask voters to approve the issuance of a $500 million state bond to fund the construction of storm shelters in all state schools.
“Today, we want to come here and announce on behalf of the families of the children perished in this school behind us for the initiative for Take Shelter Oklahoma,” Slane said, “which is the announcement for the initiative for a bond issue to make certain that we have tornado shelters in every public school in the state of Oklahoma.”
Slane vowed to get the 160,000 petition signatures needed to place the measure on the November ballot.
Past attempts to take the issue to the people of Oklahoma for a vote have failed. This time, Slane and his group enlisted the likes of the Rev. Jesse Jackson to lend his name and presence to the issue.
“It is unacceptable that so many precious children are left unprotected from severe weather outbreaks in public schools,” said Jackson, who also reminded listeners that Joplin, Mo., is now building shelters after their tornado. “I am here today asking the people of the state of Oklahoma to do the same by signing the petition these parents are circulating so voters can decide on funding school storm shelters.