Superintendent explains RPS response to tornado warnings

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- As tornado warnings went out in the Richmond metro Monday afternoon, parents immediately wanted to make sure their kids were safe.

"Wouldn't want a school bus out in that type of weather," RPS parent Lawrence Chapman said.

Chapman said he received calls from Richmond Public Schools and Binford Middle School informing him that the kids would be sheltering at school until the tornado warnings were lifted.

"They wanted to assure all of the parents all of the children were safe, they were on lockdown mode and no one was to enter or leave the premises," Chapman said.

But another RPS parent who reached out to CBS 6 via email expressed concern that the after-school director at his child's school texted him at 3:46 and told him after school was cancelled and he needed to pick his child up when school dismissed at 3:50.

He felt the school should have waited out the tornado warning, which began at 3:23, before releasing kids.

Jason Kamras

We asked RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras about those concerns.

"Our official message was, and I think you can see this in one of our tweets, is we do not advise families to come and pick up their children given the tornado warning," Kamras said.

Kamras personally tweeted that message during the tornado warning at 3:40 p.m.

Still, we asked him why the parent that reached out seemingly got conflicting information from his child's school.

"We have over 40 schools and some different messages may have gotten out so, again, I think one of the things to tighten up is how we make sure division-wide messages are aligned with what is happening at the local school level," Kamras said.

Both Chesterfield and Henrico schools told us they have staff and students shelter in place during a tornado warning, and parents are asked not to come to the schools since nobody will be monitoring the front entrance.

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