Deadly Oklahoma Tornado Shines Spotlight On School Safe Rooms


James Clemens High School (file photo)

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT/CNN)--Hidden inside the concrete walls at James Clemens High School are tornado safe rooms designed to withstand the damage an EF-5 tornado could generate, but not all schools have this level of protection.

From Moore, Oklahoma, Tuesday reporters asked the mayor during a press conference if it was accurate to say a lack of tornado safe rooms for public schools played a role in the casualties for some children during this latest storm.

The mayor acknowledged that funding played a role in recent years to not build safe rooms for public schools.

The newly constructed James Clemens High School can hold the entire student body and staff inside two separate safe rooms on either side of the campus. The rooms are rated to withstand 250 mph winds. School officials say in the future schools being built should offer the same level of safety for students while they are in school.

"We are always working to make things safer for kids and future schools across the country in tornado prone areas should make shelters like this one a priority in the designs,"  James Clemens assistant principal  Eric Terrell said.

School districts have faced funding cuts across the country in recent years and new school building projects have been delayed leaving many students without storm shelters inside schools.

(CNN contributed to this report)

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