Myers Middle School back to normal after evacuation

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It was back-to-school Thursday for students at Myers Middle School in Savannah.

Officials deemed the school safe after it was evacuated Wednesday because of a Freon gas leak. But some parents still questioning the time it took for them to be notified.

School officials say in situations like this, their priority is to make sure students are safe first, then they make sure they have all the facts before contacting parents.

Typically, the principal is supposed to notify both parents and the school district.

Wednesday, the Myers Middle principal did contact the parents of the children who were sick, but was unable to reach district officials immediately, because they were all in a school board meeting.

A number of parents Wednesday told WTOC they were frustrated that the first news they heard about this was from their own students, but according to the school district, that's inevitable this day in age.

"With kids nowadays carrying cell phones on them all the time, you are going to start to get tweets and phone calls. I don't think there's any way to avoid that from students that something is going on at school before you get official notification, because the students are telling you what's happening right then. The people who are speaking for the district, the people who are speaking for the principal at the school are going to wait until they have the facts and give you accurate information," said Sheila Blanco, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. "That is something that, parents have entrusted the school district with the care of their children. You have to trust that the school district is doing their best to get those children to a safe place and we'll contact you as soon as possible."

The school system notified parents about the evacuation within 90 minutes, but many first heard about the incident from their own kids calling or texting them.

One woman learned her granddaughter was sick after hearing rumors of an incident at the school.

"But by that time my granddaughter called me herself, now be mindful, she is just 11 years-old and then she calls me from the hospital, on a gurney, with an IV stuck in her arm. No authority there, no grown-up, no adult figure with her like her mother or grandmother or something like that. So I'm like, 'Are you serious,'" said Marilyn Jackson, granddaughter attends Myers Middle.

School officials and campus police typically have a debrief meeting after these kinds of incidents to go over what went well and what could've been done better.

WTOC is told the meeting could come in the next week.

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