Cleanup is underway at Rea Woodman Elementary in Wichita after lightning struck a tree Thursday morning.
A Wichita teacher was one of those inside an elementary classroom when lightning struck just a few feet outside the windows at Woodman Elementary.
"And the lightning struck. It was loud and glass was flying. The kids were scared," said 2nd grade teacher Julie Nelson.
The district says there was only one minor injury, to a grandparent dropping a student off. But having lightning hit so close, breaking classroom windows, was traumatic for some students.
"Pieces of trees and rulers and pencils and… yeah… stuff was flying everywhere," said Nelson, describing the moment the lightning hit. "My first reaction was to hit the ground."
But while this wasn't a fire drill teachers and students knew exactly how to evacuate when they realized lightning had hit the tree just outside their classroom.
"I grabbed them and we headed out into the hall," said Nelson. "No, this isn't something we practice. But our kids, you know, they followed the instructions very well."
The strike sent shards of wood flying through the air in all directions. Some of them went straight through windows and into classrooms where the first few students were gathering for the beginning of the school day.
"So most students had not entered those classrooms yet," said principal Jana Epperly. "So we just went into thinking about what can we do to keep our students safe and our staff members safe."
"They were a little shook up," said Nelson about her students. "But we have great support here. The counselor came down and our social worker came down."
The only injury was to a grandparent who'd just dropped off his granddaughter.
"He thought the umbrella is what had collapsed, hit him on the head, because the wind gust was strong," said Epperly. "But then he realized that he had been hit by a piece of wood."
The principal says he went to the ER to get checked out but was more worried about making sure his granddaughter knew he was alright.
Once students were moved to undamaged classrooms the clean-up began. Crews quickly began chopping up the damaged tree and carting it away, then boarding up the windows until they can be replaced.
"When you sit back and look at how much things were pushed out from that tree," said Epperly, "that's what has made me nervous when you look back on it now."
"It's scary," said Nelson. "I mean, I could keep going what if, what if. But we're just very fortunate, you know, that none of our students were hurt and everybody was safe."
While some students had to spend the day in other classrooms and they had recess indoors today, that's the only disruption the lightning strike caused to the regular school schedule.
"I'm so proud of our staff and students," said Epperly about their response to the lightning strike.