The Washington Post

Not all D.C. schools evacuated after quake

“Today, all D.C. Public Schools were evacuated,” DCPS announced in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake. Not exactly.

At least four Northwest schools — Deal Middle and Lafayette, Mann and Hearst Elementary--did not heed the call to head for the exits, parents and District officials confirmed. WTOP reporter Mark Segraves, a Hearst parent, said kids were actually removed from temporary trailers into the vintage Cleveland Park school building after the tremors.

“Some of our principals were away from their BlackBerrys when the order came out,” is the way Chancellor Kaya Henderson put it at the mayor’s Wednesday morning briefing. Such separations of principal and BlackBerry tend to be exceedingly rare. But then, so are Virginia earthquakes. In any event, Henderson didn’t seem too concerned with the apparent blowing off of emergency protocols.

Ashley Allen, a parent at Mann, said she and most parents were comfortable with the Principal Liz Whisnant's handling of the emergency. She said she received an e-mail alert from the school 10 minutes after she felt the tremors, with the message that everyone was safe, and that afternoon dismissal would take place as usual.

“That just gave me peace of mind and I didn’t think much more of it,” said Allen.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.

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