As protests continue in Ferguson, following the killing of Michael Brown last week, school district officials have decided to delay the start of school until August 25, 2014.
Monday, the Ferguson-Florissant School District announced schools would remain closed due to safety concerns. The district had previously said school would begin Monday, after originally pushing back the start of school from August 14.
“All schools in the Ferguson-Florissant School District will be closed Tuesday, August 19 through Friday, August 22 due to continued unrest in and around Ferguson, Mo. This decision was made after much careful deliberation and consideration of input received from local law enforcement officials and District security staff,” the district said in an announcement on its website.
“We believe that closing schools for the rest of this week will allow needed time for peace and stability to be restored to our community and allow families to plan ahead for the additional days that children will be out of school.”
“While we deeply regret this delay to the start of the 2014-2015 school year, our first priority is the safety of our students.”
“Due to this change, the first day of school in the Ferguson-Florissant School District will be on Monday, August 25.”
The biggest concern is the lack of access to those thousands of students who rely on free or reduced lunches provided by their schools.
Overall, the school district enrolls more than 12,000 students in its 23 public schools. Of those students, 7,994 were enrolled in free or reduced price lunch programs during the 2011-12 school year, according to federal data.
Jennings released a statement saying that Tuesday would be used as a staff development day to prepare for Wednesday. In addition, if students are in need of lunch or mental health services, the school closest to their home will have these resources between noon and 1 p.m.
In Riverview Gardens, staff is asked to report at 9 a.m. Pre-packed lunches are available for parents to pick up at the following schools: Koch Elementary at 9 a.m., Lewis and Clark Elementary at 10:15 a.m. and Highland Elementary School at 11:15 a.m.
Jana Shortt, director of communications for the Ferguson-Florrisant School District says the school district is also concerned about addressing potential emotional and social problems that may arise from the events in Ferguson.
All Ferguson-Florrisant public schools have counselors on staff. But to ensure that all students will get necessary mental help following the riots in Ferguson, Shortt said they’ve “reached out to outside groups that are providing therapists” from St. Louis’s Great Circle Community Agency.
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