Thursday, January 23, 2020
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Houston schools to resume Sept. 11, after clean-up

About 31,000 teachers and other staff members serve about 216,000 students in Houston alone, not to mention the flood-soaked areas nearby on the South Texas coast. “Students went back-to-school shopping for school uniforms and clothing and school supplies,” US News & World Report quoted HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza as saying. “Many of our students are going to have lost everything.”

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Students who are displaced by a catastrophe such as this are protected by federal law, specifically by the McKinney-Vento law. Education Week reported about this law:

“The disaster is traumatic, and homelessness is traumatic,” said George Hancock of the National Center on Homeless Education. “As they’re displaced, we wouldn’t want to then further exacerbate the situation. We want them to get back into their schools as quickly as they can so they can be in a stable and nurturing environment. The hope is to get at least one part of their lives back to normal.”

That is my hope as well, but before that can happen, a massive clean-up effort will be undertaken, the New York Times reports. Not only do homes need to be searched for additional victims, but several explosions occurred at a chemical plant north of Houston, which was storing chemicals that needed to be refrigerated to remain safe; when the plant lost power, the refrigeration failed and the tanks exploded.

So many kids who have lost everything will have trouble finding clothes to wear. As a result, HISD has relaxed its uniform policy until January 2018.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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