February 8th, 2013
04:22 PM ET

How students stayed safe after gunman boarded Alabama bus

By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) - The drama began last week when a gunman boarded a Dale County, Alabama, school bus, shot and killed the driver and grabbed a 5-year-old boy. It ended days later with the boy, Ethan, rescued from a bunker where he was held hostage, and his 65-year-old abductor dead.

Now that Ethan is safe, even celebrating his 6th birthday this week, officials are poring over the details of how the case unfolded, starting on the school bus.

It played out over 4½ minutes, a scene captured by a camera mounted at the front of the bus. It's a security measure common on buses now.

Witnesses and officials who reviewed the recording said Jimmy Lee Dykes boarded the bus with a gun and handed a note to the driver demanding to take several children. The driver, Charles Poland, refused. He stood, placing himself between the gunman and the students.

Meanwhile, older students opened an emergency exit on the back of the bus and ran away from the bus. They knew what to do: Twice-per-year emergency drills reminded them how to evacuate.

Follow CNN's Schools of Thought blog on Twitter, @CNNschools.

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February 8th, 2013
12:30 PM ET

Some ACT tests canceled by winter storm heading toward Northeast

By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) potentially historic winter storm closing in on the Northeast is causing some ACT achievement test cancellations a move that could delay about 12,000 students scheduled to start the test at 8 a.m. ET Saturday.

There are about 190 ACT test sites in the path of the storm, and 103 had canceled by Friday afternoon, ACT spokesman Ed Colby said. Tests were canceled in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The test dates will be rescheduled, usually at the same testing site or another one nearby, as soon as possible, Colby said. If students aren't available on the retake date, they'll be able to take the ACT on the next national testing date, April 13.

Local test officials make the decision on whether to cancel. Test takers can check with their testing sites at ACTstudent.org or by calling 319-337-1270 or 319-337-1510.

"We will be updating our website continually and getting those cancellations up there as soon as we get them, probably into the night and perhaps into the morning," Colby said.

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Filed under: Testing • Weather