School resource officer credited with saving lives as EF-0 tornado passed over Pleasant Hill school


CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Tenn (WKRN) — On Thursday afternoon, an EF-0 tornado passed right over Pleasant Hill Elementary School on the west side of Cumberland County.

Cumberland County Director of Schools, Ina Maxwell, said the storm hit as kids were leaving for the day.

“It was during dismissal time, so we had students on school busses in front of the school building,” Maxwell said.

Pleasant Hill school resource officer, Anthony Justice, was in the parking lot directing traffic when he saw the storm barreling towards him.

“I saw a big cloud coming towards me. It was spinning and I thought hmm that’s coming awful quick and then I heard it,” Justice said. “I started screaming at them and the teachers to get back in the building there’s a tornado coming!”

Justice says about 40 cross-country runners were also in the parking lot when the wind and rain picked up. But thanks to him they all made it inside safely.

Maxwell says she’s thankful for his swift response.

“Buildings can be replaced. Lives can’t. We’re just very fortunate,” Maxwell said.

“I was just doing my job. That is my job,” Justice said.

Maxwell said there were no major injuries, but some of the kids on the busses sustained minor cuts and scrapes.

Cumberland County Schools are closed on Friday as clean up continues.

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