School systems seeing new students after Hurricane Michael displaces families

Some enrolling after evacuating their homes

School systems seeing new students after Hurricane Michael displaces families
Jefferson County schools is one of several systems seeing new students enroll following Hurricane Michael.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Several schools systems in Central Alabama say they are seeing new children enroll after their families evacuated because of Hurricane Michael.

"This is becoming a daily incidence with us and we feel like they’ll be more in the coming weeks,” said Janet Hagood, Director of Federal Programs for Jefferson County Schools.

Or, as it turned out, in the coming minutes.

Just moments after our interview wrapped, and before we even left the building, Hagood called to tell us that parents of four more students had called to enroll their kids.

In all the system has gotten nine new students that evacuated from either Hurricanes Michael or Florence.

"In fact our superintendent Dr. Craig Pouncey sent an email out to all our principals yesterday letting them know to expect these students. And of course what we're going to do is enroll them first. They're probably not going to come with their blue forms and all the necessary paper work," said Hagood.

The system has a motto of sorts in situations like these - remove the barriers. In other words, get the kids who have been displaced into class and then fill in the gaps later.

“Now of course that means we will go back and check, but our main goal is to get some stability in their lives,” said Hagood.

There is even a federal law that mandates, among other things, that students who find themselves homeless, are to be enrolled immediately.

Jefferson County takes it another step by providing a backpack with things like school supplies and toiletries.

“Let them come in. Let us take care of them. Let us get them prepared for the next phase of their life,” said Hagood.

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