GAINESVILLE, Ga. – The placement of illegal immigrant students has wreaked havoc on schools across the country.
The Statesboro Herald reports:
Fifty-four Central American refugee students, some of whom cannot read or write, have been moved from their schools into a separate program at a Hall County public school, Lanier Charter Career Academy.
The students, who crossed the border in precarious conditions to escape violence in their home countries, do not speak English. Their Spanish dialects are unfamiliar to the district’s Spanish teachers, and some have had little schooling.
One student, a 14-year-old, has never been to school. Some others are able to read and write in their native language, but the dialect barrier has made it difficult to assess each student’s needs.
“We decided to put them together at one place so we could provide the resources they needed,” Eloise Barron, the district’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, tells the paper.
Cindy Blakely, the school’s principal, says, “For students who are fairly capable and not too far behind, our hope would be within a year or two that they are remediated enough to return to their high school, and also that they are able to live in the community and feel a part of the community.”
Students are being taught about life in America, from the existence of public libraries to how the bus system works.
In addition to what they went through before arriving in Georgia, the students are now in a strange country where they do not speak the language, far removed from the family members who continue to live under violent regimes in Central America, according to the paper.
“There are 21 different Spanish dialects,” the district’s assistant superintendent says.
The assistant superintendent tells the paper there is no special federal or state funding for the program her district is operating.