Friday, September 02, 2005

Flooding in

I just got back from volunteering at my son's school (I do it every Friday that I have off). There was a flood of refugee families coming in to register their children for school. The district has waived most of the normal requirements needed to register for school, ie. shot records, copy of the last physical, school records, etc., since someone with common sense realized that these people were not thinking about school when they fled their homes. Half of them probably thought that they would be returning in 3 days, not in the months to a year that it might actually take before they are able to go home again.

Most of the parents look worn and tired, with a few showing some stress and frustration, but under control. The children just look shell-shocked. Many of them have a blank look to their eyes, like they are in a dream state. As one child was being led to his new class, he looked around with a panic-stricken face and broke into tears. His mother was barely able to hold herself together as he was led away. Luckily, we have a very good staff of counselors and one of them was able to distract him and get him smiling again.

Some of my relatives up north can't understand why the children are being made to go to school so soon after this tragedy happened. It for the simple reason that these families need a routine, something to cling to, something that is part of a "normal" life. If they are allowed to sit in a hotel room, an overcrowded shelter, or a converted stadium; despair sets in. Giving them something to focus on gives the children purpose.

4 comments:

wally said...

Going back home to the mess in New Orleans seems impossible to me. How in the world those houses will ever be livable is beyond me. Just the resources and material alone; where is all going to come from? I seems it would be easier to find a job somewhere else and start over from scratch.

Dawn said...

Actually Wally, a lot of them are doing that. Our local shelters divide folks nto groups - those who want to go back and those who want to start over here.

Envoy-ette said...

Everything those kids had...is gone. Their beds, toys, pictures, and some lost their pets. It's so sad.

Spit said...

My mom got a new student yesterday from NO. She teaches high school Spanish. This kid was so nice, he really made an impression on her, plus he volunteered to read, in Spanish, aloud to the class.
I asked why she was so surprised and she said because none of her regualar students were as nice as this kid.