A bracelet honors the Plaza Towers Elementary School victims of 2013. 

One Oklahoma educator is taking on critics of the decision by many school districts to cancel classes amid Monday's scary forecast: the former counselor at Moore's Plaza Towers Elementary School.

"If you disagree with the metro districts making this call, you clearly have forgotten 7 lives that were lost 6 years ago tomorrow," Kristin Atchley tweeted Sunday evening. "Also, the rest of us that begged for our lives and fought our way to safety."

Atchley, who now works at director of student services at the Mid-Del School District in the Oklahoma City area, survived the May 20, 2013, tornado that claimed the lives of seven of her then-students at Plaza Towers.

She tweeted a collage of photos of all seven: Sydney Angle, Antonia Candelaria, Emily Conatzer, Kyle Davis, Christopher Legg, Nicolas McCabe, and Ja'Nae Hornsby, noting that the anniversary is always a difficult day for survivors of the tragedy.

"Let me just say, the caution being shown for this storm tomorrow helps me believe what we went through and the lives lost were not in vain. It taught this state and (Oklahoma educators) to be prepared like never before," Atchley wrote.

On Sunday, Tulsa Public Schools canceled classes and activities for Monday. Several suburban districts were keeping an eye on the forecast before making decisions such as postponing Monday evening's commencement for Jenks seniors.

Broken Arrow Superintendent Janet Dunlop issued a statement about the district's decision-making.

"When we make these decisions regarding weather, the Tulsa-area superintendents discuss prior to the decision and most often make the decision together. Last night, Jenks, Owasso, Bixby, Sand Springs, Union, Collinsville and Broken Arrow discussed the weather, consulted with meteorologists from local TV stations and the National Weather Service, and decided the threat was most significant in Oklahoma City and north of us," Dunlop wrote.

"Perhaps most importantly is that many of our children do not have a parent or grandparent at home during the day to keep them safe in severe weather, and therefore are much more safe with supervision and care in the school building."

The district later opted to allow parents the option of early pickups Monday afternoon with no attendance penalties.

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Andrea Eger 



Twitter: @AndreaEger

Staff Writer

Andrea is a projects reporter, examining key education topics and other local issues. Since joining the Tulsa World in 1999, she has been a three-time winner of Oklahoma’s top award for investigative reporting by an individual. Phone: 918-581-8470

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