As the skies darkened, Perry radioed a dispatcher.
"I stopped the bus for a second, put my hands down and said, 'Dear Lord, what do I do?'" Perry said.
Perry made a decision to turn the bus around and make the nearly 3-mile journey back to the school, though time was running out.
Perry counted the children onboard and told them to cover their heads as they travelled back to school.
"If you got a book to put over your head, do it," she told the children. "Get in the middle."
Finally, the bus pulled up to the school. Perry kept the kids together as they ran to safety.
Debris flew and lightning flashed. A surveillance camera inside the bus shows that moments later, the 18-ton bus moved across the parking lot, slammed into a car, then was lifted into the air and thrown into a diner across the street.
After listening to how Perry managed to keep herself under control and not frighten the children, it makes what she did even more heroic.