Oklahoma elementary school principal stands barefoot in rain to get kids in school


LINDSAY, Okla. (KFOR) — Lindsay Elementary School Principal Titus Burrell helped students get to class Wednesday, barefoot, amid freezing temperatures due to floodwaters in the drop-off lane.

The mid-30-degree temperatures and floodwaters Wednesday morning didn’t faze Burrell. Instead, he hopped into action, helping kids get to class with dry feet. Cellphone video sent to NewsNation affiliate KFOR shows him standing barefoot in the cold water, helping kids out of their cars. This is only a glimpse of what he did for them.

“Holy crap he’s barefoot, and then I’m like, ‘OK, holy crap he’s picking up these kids,’ and then I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, he’s freezing,’” said Mary Goleman, a parent whose children were helped by Burrell when she dropped them off Wednesday morning.

Burrell rolled up his pants and got to work. He braved the pouring rain Wednesday morning in Lindsay and carried kids one by one over the rising floodwater in the drop-off lane.

“He did this for car, after car, after car,” Goleman said.

“I had to, there wasn’t any thought about it,” Burrell said. “I had my pants pulled up to about right here, about 14 inches off the ground, and they were wet when I went in.”

Burrell said the water was at about 1 foot deep at the curb.

“You got short elementary legs, jumping 3 feet is a bit of a distance out of a vehicle,” Burrell said. “Had kids getting out of the car in summer shoes, mesh shoes and they were going to get wet, and I said, ‘Man, I can’t have that.’”

Burrell grabbed kids like Charlie Rutherford, Goleman’s son, trying to help keep them dry.

“At first I thought it was awkward,” Rutherford said. “But then I was like, you know what, you got to do what you got to do.”

The freezing temperatures and cold water almost got to the elementary school principal.

“It was probably the coldest water I’ve been in since I was a little kid,” Burrell said. “There for a bit I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know how smart this was. I might be paying for this one.’”

However, the students feel it’s a testimony to the tightknit community in Lindsay.

“We care about each other,” Rutherford said.

Burrell said he helped about 100 kids before going inside. He added that it took his feet roughly 25 to 30 minutes to warm up.

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