Thursday Jan. 12 McIntosh faced with severe storm and tornado watch

Despite two attempts at early releases, MHS shelters in place

Screenshot of the severe weather alert from Thursday, Jan. 13.

Savannah Hayes, News Editor

Yesterday, Jan. 12, at 1:58 p.m. McIntosh’s administration sent an email that there would be an early release due to unsafe weather concerns. The email was as follows:

“Good afternoon,
In hopes of getting students safely home before the storms hit our area, we will ring the dismissal bell at 3:35 PM today. In looking at the most current weather radar, it appears that the most dangerous weather will hit our area around 4:15 PM and we want our golf cart riders and young drivers to have plenty of time to get home. Students who ride the bus will wait in the cafeteria until their buses arrive. In addition, all after school activities are canceled through 6:00 PM today.
Thank you,
Principal Maggie Walls”

According to some MHS teachers, at approximately 3:16 p.m. the administration sent another email mentioning that they would move up the early release to 3:20 p.m.

“So a little bit before 3:20 I was teaching geometry. All of a sudden it comes out that we’re going to let students go early [because of a ] big storm coming through, warning number three out of five from weather channels saying that we are under tornado watch,” math teacher Arthur Walton said.

Students were confused as they started to leave and then they were told to return to classrooms. Senior Reagan Vetter was one of the students who was released at the stated early time but then was told to go back to class.

“The administration stopped everyone coming from foreign language and science. I was one of the first people they stopped; there were about 50 of us that were stopped in the main lobby. We weren’t let out until 4:30,” Vetter said.

“We were held up in class because the district made a call to keep students in place, and it’ s the right call because we are a very safe place for students, [we have a] good structure,” Walton said.

With heavy winds and rain, McIntosh suffered some damage.

“There was a big hole at the end of the hall that was leaking water profusely. We didn’t know how big the hole was. Later I went by and there’s literally a panel missing from our roof,” Walton said.

Custodians worked to contain the water, and this morning maintenance workers arrived to fix the hole.

“Custodians are doing the best job to keep people safe and clean up what mess there was and make sure that the water, as much as possible, has been gathered in appropriate places and not just spilling everywhere over the floor,” Walton said.

Clayton State University sent several emails to Dual Enrollment students throughout the afternoon to share information on class cancellations.

“Due to inclement weather, all classes scheduled to begin at 3pm or later today will be moved online.”

After being released, Trail Editor-in-Chief Rebekah Bushmire was heading to her home on her golf cart, when she saw another student turning around on his golf cart because of a tree blocking the road.

“Brayden Chaffin also got out of his golf cart and we stood blocking the path and directed the golf carts to go straight instead of turning. We stood in the rain for a while stopping people from going down the hill pretty much until the golf cart traffic was done. I did it because I didn’t want anyone going down, braking really hard and the traction of the wheels slipping because that would’ve led to someone crashing,” Bushmire said.

The Trail’s Instragram poll asking followers how they felt about the storm affecting dismissal, 49% were upset, 34% were confused, and the remaining 17% were calm. As of 3:30 Friday afternoon, the poll had 197 views and 61 respondents.

Freshman Juliana Lockwood responded via the Trail’s Instagram, “I think McIntosh could have handled it better [because] Starr’s Mill let everyone out earlier.”

Sophomore LilyKate Love responded via the Trail’s Instragram, “They should’ve just let us go home before it got that bad.”

Later in the day, a message from the district was sent to parents:

“Dear Fayette County Public School Families:

“Thank you for your patience and understanding with dismissal this afternoon. Our top priority is to always do what is best for the safety and wellbeing [sic] of our students.

“Thank you for your support of Fayette County Public Schools.”


Rebekah Bushmire

Screenshot of the severe weather alert from Thursday, Jan. 13. (August Moss)
The severe storm blew parts of the roof off of McIntosh High School in upstairs Wilksmore, causing rain water to come through the ceiling. This image was taken Friday morning. (Ryan LeVan)

Luke Soule