Chatham Co. students stuck on buses during tornado warning - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Students stuck on buses during tornado warning

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

School systems across the Coastal Empire closed for Tuesday's nasty weather – but the biggest one, Chatham County schools, stayed open.

Some families were upset by the decision, after busloads of students pulled over to wait out a 6:30 a.m. tornado warning.

Beverly O'Neal's granddaughter was one of them, on a bus headed from Pooler to Garrison Elementary in downtown Savannah.

"I just felt like schools should have been closed," O'Neal said. "I was waiting for Chatham County to come across the screen, but it never did, and that really surprised me."

Retired Chatham County teacher Wilmotine Ellis also has grandchildren at Garrison. She thinks the school system should've decided to start classes late and should've made that decision early. 

"By the time it happened, they were already at the bus stops," Ellis said. "And then, those that were at the bus stops and the buses did not come until later were still there. So I just think they can watch the weather a little closer and then make sure that the call-outs are made."

Ulysses Bryant , the school system's police chief, heads up the committee that makes those safety calls. He said school officials were in constant contact with the Chatham County Emergency Management Agency, but conditions changed quickly this morning. They only were expecting rain.

"We already know that we have kids out there, waiting on the buses," he said of the moment the warning was issued. "And we know that the buses are moving."

Still, O'Neal thinks the school system shouldn't have waited till morning to make a call on closures.

"They should've made a better decision than what they did."

No tornado was confirmed Tuesday morning.

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