Returning to School After the Storm

Returning to School After the Storm
Posted on 03/22/2024
This is the image for the news article titled Returning to School After the StormTornado Back to SchoolBrentlingerCoburn fist bumpTidwell Counsels
Indian Lake Schools resumed classes on Wednesday, March 20th, nearly a week after a deadly tornado ripped through the district. 
ILMS 7th grader Ayla Brentlinger was not injured in the storm, but her Lakeview home is unlivable. Still, she was excited to get back to school. 
"I'm pretty happy to be back because I've missed my friends and I haven't been able to see them since it happened. So, I got to see all my friends and reunite with them and talk to them about everything that's happened," Ayla said. 
Brentlinger's family is temporarily displaced, living with friends outside of Huntsville. Approximately 190 Indian Lake students are in a similar situation at this time because their home was damaged or destroyed by the tornado. Still, 90% of Indian Lake students attended school on the first day back. 

Indian Lake Superintendent Rob Underwood explained that the decision to get back in the classroom was just to create some normalcy for students and make sure that they know they are loved and supported.
Teacher Lindsay Ross said it was an almost normal day, "I was anxious about the kids coming back. But what we heard over and over during our phone calls (on Monday and Tuesday) is that they wanted to be back. It's been really good so far."
The district ran on a 2-hour delay so that bus drivers were able to navigate routes in the daylight. Elementary students were greeted with an inspiring sign from Bellefontaine City Schools students, plus lots of hugs from staff members who were excited to see them. ILHS students went out of their way to fist bump or hug Assistant Principal Dave Coburn and his wife, business teacher Lisa Coburn, as they also lost their home in the storm. 
Several counselors were available in each building to talk with students and help them process feelings and fears. The staff from Community Health and Wellness handed out flowers to staff members. They will be present over the coming days and weeks.