Moore tornado update: Kelley Elementary built with steel doors, Kevlar to withstand EF5 twister

MOORE, Okla. - The devastation at Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary schools raises new questions about safe rooms for students and staff.

Kelley Elementary, part of Moore Public Schools, is a safe school capable of withstanding an EF5 tornado.

Full coverage of the Moore tornado can be found at

"What we do is we come down here, we get all of the students between the two doors, we open up the cab-- open up these doors right here and you pull out the chain," described principal Dena Taylor of the school's tornado drill they practice routinely.  "And we bring the doors down."

On Monday, the drill became reality.

But it wasn't just students and staff who filled the two hallways that are outfitted with five steel doors and Kevlar.

They pulled in parents and even people driving by. They had approximately 200 people lining one of the specially-designed hallways as the tornado passed through the city.

"We were like crouching down on the wall and like with books over our heads and like we were just talking to each other," recalled 5th grader Ian Morris.

Some of the kids were panicked while others sat in silence.

"It's just like a mother's voice. As long as you just give them that calm, calm attitude, then most of the time the students will calm down," said Taylor.

Everyone inside Kelley was okay after the storm passed, the school wasn't hit, but that wasn't the case at Plaza Towers and Briarwood.

Seven children died at Plaza Towers. Briarwood was leveled.

Photo gallery remembering the victims of the Moore tornado (

Principal Taylor believes if the funding can be made available, there's no reason why every Oklahoma school can't be safe or have a safe room.


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