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Garland School District Trying To Identify Families Affected By Tornado

National Weather Service

The Garland Independent School District is one of the school systems in the tornado zone that’s scrambling to reopen. No school buildings there were seriously damaged, but there are all sorts of complications – displaced families, disrupted bus routes, destroyed bus stops.

The Garland school district has launched an online questionnaire for families and a phone bank with 15 operators, including some who speak Spanish.

“The premise behind this is to identify as many students as we can to alleviate as much stress and as much activity beyond the norm when they return to school on Tuesday,” said district spokesman Chris Moore.

Moore said as many as 3,500 families live within the path of the storm, but the district still isn’t sure how many are within its boundaries.

Staff will use information from the questionnaire and phone bank to create new bus stops by Tuesday, when students return to class. They will also help with other needs like meals, school uniforms and band instruments.

Figuring all this out is a little tricky though. In Garland ISD, parents can choose to send their kids to any of the district’s schools.

“In your typical district, you may have an area that’s served by one campus,” Moore said. “It would be much simpler to figure that information if that were the case, but we have students that are all over the district and we route buses all over the district, and so it’s gonna be much more complex to figure out how many people are affected, the campuses that they attend.”

The district is working with the Dallas County Appraisal District to identify where students live. But they need families and friends to call in or go online to help, Moore said.

“I have no doubt that there are families that can’t get to school Tuesday and we’re gonna do everything we can,” he said.

The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The number is 972-487-4999. You can find the online questionnaire and additional information on the district’s website at

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.