North Minneapolis Students Reflect on 2011 Tornado

Updated: 05/22/2013 6:25 PM By: Katherine Johnson

Wednesday marks the anniversary of the North Minneapolis tornado that swept through the community and displaced hundreds of Lucy Craft Laney students from their homes.

Teachers usually work to keep students focused at the end of the school year, but after Monday evening's deadly tornado ripped through Oklahoma, teachers at Lucy Craft Laney School in North Minneapolis are working to keep their students distracted.

"We had to brace ourselves when it was cloudy because the students - they're all looking out the window," Principal Mauri Melander said. "There's just a level of anxiety that goes up. You can feel it."

Melander is bracing for impact as Lucy Craft Laney approaches the anniversary of the deadly tornado that ripped through their community.  

"We had kids who had been hiding in bathtubs when it came through and kids who watched windows go," Melander said.

About 300 students at Lucy Craft Laney were displaced from their homes after the 2011 tornado, which is nearly half of the school population.

"Defining safe, I think, is a moving target," Dr. Gary Amoroso with the Association of School Administrators said.

Amoroso says every school district in the state is required to run at least one tornado drill a year.

"I think it's difficult for anybody to say every child, every adult will be 100 percent safe 100 percent of the time," he said.

That's why students and staff at Lucy Craft Laney take the drills, and distractions, so seriously.

"When it gets cloudy, you know, say oh we're okay...and being okay to go to the window and talk about it," said one teacher.

Schools in Minnesota are also required to have an emergency meeting spot outside the school in case something happens here and the students can't stay in the building so parents know where to find their children if tragedy strikes.