Parents frustrated over Marion school still closed after Hurricane Florence

Brittons Neck Elementary remains closed after Hurricane Florence
Brittons Neck Elementary remains closed after Hurricane Florence(WMBF News)
Published: Nov. 14, 2018 at 9:47 PM EST
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MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - After being out of their home school for more than 6 weeks parents of students who attend Brittons Neck Elementary in Marion County are airing their frustration.

"I just feel we want our kids back to BNE because that's where they belong," parent Jameka Caesar said.

The elementary school is the only school building in Marion County that has yet to reopen since Hurricane Florence devastated the area.

On September 11th all Marion County schools closed its doors shortly before the storm hit the area.

Nearly two weeks later on September 27th Mullins and Marion area schools were reopened while Creek Bridge High School and Brittons Neck Elementary remained closed.

"Everything's changed, from the kids to the staff, everything is a lot harder on them than it used to be," parent Roberta Hemingway said.

While students from both schools returned back to classes on October 3rd, students from Brittons Neck Elementary are currently being housed in two different schools. The school has 244 students. Kindergarten through 2nd grade is at Esterling Primary School and 3rd grade through 5th grade is at Marion Intermediate School.

District officials said after 15 days of being out of school because of Hurricane Florence they had to come up with a plan to get the students back in a learning environment. However, it’s a planned parent said is proving to be tough on their kids

"It's like a road trip okay we're going to stop here first, then put the children on the bus, then we're going to go to another school,” Chasia Taylor said. “It's crazy. It's too much for these kids."

Even more so for Amanda Rodriguez, who has two kids in the school.

"I mean you went from having sisters in one school to suddenly you got sisters going to two separate schools. Both of them like to be together. I like for them to be together," Rodriguez said.

In a response through email, a spokesperson with the school district sent the following:

"Please know that our district recognizes that any transition during a school year presents some level of challenge for students and concerns for parents.

The Brittons Neck Elementary School became compromised after extensive flooding in the lower part of Marion County. There was a mounting concern over the number of days students were out of the learning environment. After being out of school for 15 days, the district was fortunate to implement a plan to get our Brittons Neck students back into the school using available space in other district schools.

Various aspects of the building have been assessed including air quality. The results are currently being reviewed and the district is working with companies to create a plan that will honor our commitment to the health and safety of our students and staff. As soon as a plan is in place, it will be shared with parents."

While parents agree safety’s a top priority, they said they need to be more informed about what’s happening in their community.

“The thing is why is it taking so long for you as a board member to tell us, parents, what’s going on. This is our children’s school. This is where they belong,” Rodriguez said.

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