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District Confident School Community Will 'Band Together' Post Sandy

Parents are encouraged to notify their children’s principal, teacher or guidance counselor if they themselves are in need or if they know of anyone who is

After nearly a week of working toward recovery following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Lacey schools will be opening on Monday.

Unable to communicate with residents and students who have been affected by the storm due to power outages, the district has expressed concerns regarding how they may be impacted.

“As Dr. (Superintendent Sandra) Brower posted on our website, a storm of this magnitude can be frightening and stressful to our students,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Vanessa Clark said. Concern for their safety can extend to concern for family, friends, and pets.”

Extensive media coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy can add to the anxiety, she said.

“With all that said, returning to normal routines such as being in school is certainly an important first step toward helping our students and parents cope, which is why we are making every effort to reopen school on Monday,” Clark said.

Parents are encouraged to notify their children’s principal, teacher or guidance counselor if they themselves are in need or if they know of anyone who is. Any family with transportation concerns can call 732-664-1035 and leave a message, which will be returned. Additionally, the district is offering before- and after-school care at no charge Monday to Wednesday.

“It is difficult to ascertain what type and level of counseling should be offered until we have a sense of what those needs will be,” Clark said.

Once communication is made available between the district and residents, there will be a better understanding of how Lacey families were affected, she said. Then, Director of Special Services Michael Maschi will work with guidance counselors to determine the level of services offered.

Having students get involved in the community can also help in the road towards recovery, Clark said.

“During an event such as this storm, it is important for students to feel that they are a making a difference,” she said. “The Lacey Township School District has a long history of being part of so many great causes--collecting food for those in need during the Holidays, providing for our military men and women, raising funds for cancer awareness--the list is extensive.”

Clark and Brower are confident the school community will “band together” and become involved in relief efforts to the Lacey community and locally, Clark said.

“We know that our students will benefit emotionally from getting involved in service projects and our teachers and administrators will make every effort to begin these types of projects as soon as our students return to the classroom,” she said.

Stephanie November 03, 2012 at 06:51 PM
If you want a better understanding of how families were affected get in your car and drive around! What's wrong, too dangerous? But it's ok for kids to stand in the dark at the bus stops in the muck and the rubble? If it is such a fantastic idea and children will reap such emotional benefits from this premature return, why is Lacey the ONLY district doing so?
Ryan Hardy November 03, 2012 at 11:54 PM
It's UNREAL that they really plan on re-opening monday! Sandy B. should reconsider in light of what happened to many of us. Especially on Laurel. Now I have to get my kids ready when our house had 3 feet of water in it and is mostly ruined.
Veronica November 04, 2012 at 12:39 AM
I guess you didnt drive to the east side of Lacey.
Justmyopinion November 04, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Please allow me to voice my opinion about opening school on Monday. Though I understand the need to regain a schedule and a sense of normalcy,I think we must consider the enormous burden this can place on parents and students are finding themselves homeless or in a home with no power. Some parents have children in several different places at this time. Some have yet to replace shoes or clothes. They have not established a routine for showers, meals, laundry and transportation. I witnessed first hand a near collapse when a family heard that with all they were managing, they must now try to manage school. Perhaps delayed opening and half days would benefit these families who have no power so the children are not waiting for a bus in the darkened streets of Lacey. Maybe a no homework or project announcement for the first week would comfort those seeking shelter and direction. I only ask that these things be considered from the perspective of the caregiver who is trying to find a place to live and eat. They do not need the stress of arriving on time or at all or finding supplies to complete assignments. Respectfully, please, consider these points.
Lacey Resident November 04, 2012 at 02:44 AM
How can schools open when so many students and staff are displaced. If this new superintendent was so concerned about our community why didnt she open the high school to assist students and family in organizing a clothing and food drive or better yet a soup kitchen so families without power can have a hot meal?
Laceygoingdownhill November 04, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I hate to ask such a trivial question, but are students going to school in halloween costumes on Monday?
Laceygoingdownhill November 04, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Does anyone know if the schools will be open Thurs 11/8 & Fri 11/9 now? Are kids wearing costumes to school on Monday?
HD November 04, 2012 at 08:14 PM
I also feel that the superintendant should have shown concern by opening the high school for help, even if not as a shelter, as a charging station, drop off point for donations, etc......all the other surrounding school ditricts have used their schools to help out victims, why didn't Lacey????? Makes us look like we don't care.
Agreewiththelaw November 04, 2012 at 08:18 PM
I believe school should be optional these next few days, more of a supervised arrangement that does not warrant teaching from a text book! This way if children are unable to get there due to unavoidable circumstances they won't be missing anything. The children that are able to go can socialize with friends they haven't seen in a week or so and review lessons they have already learned.
Susan November 04, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I heard that yes, they are going in costume. Personally, I think that they should assess tomorrow and pick a day later in the week...tomorrow should be about finding normalcy and discussing with the kids not jumping into a party. There are kids homeless possibility coming from shelters... but that is just my opinion.
Ashley Parker November 04, 2012 at 08:27 PM
I feel this is a heartless act by not only the superintendent but the school board as well. East of Lacey Rd. is in shambles and you expect these children and families to pull it all together to attend school? These people need at least another week to get back on their feet before a sense of "normalcy" can be reached. Shame on Superintendent Brower.
LTHSstudent November 04, 2012 at 08:29 PM
It is UNREAL that they are opening schools! Take this from a high school student. Normalcy? It's not normal to go to school after a hurricane came and destroyed homes in our district and flooded streets. I haven't been home since last sunday. My street was flooded, and I still don't have power there. The homes just two blocks away where flooded with 3 feet of water, but I guess the district could care less. This is INSENSITIVE. We are the only district in Ocean County resuming school this early. It really shows how much the schoolscare about the students.
Jocelyn November 04, 2012 at 08:29 PM
No costumes on Monday as many won't have access for supplies for their costumes. So far looks like the schools will be closed Thurs and Fri as planned. I for one am glad my kids will be able to go back this week. I don't think those families displaced are really expected to send their kids back this week, but the rest of us really NEED the return to school and normalcy. Are those people so affected gong to feel like things are normal miraculously on the 12th? When you feel like you are ready, then send your kids back. I saw so many people out helping and donating and working at the shelters set up at the churches. Can we focus on the positive responses instead of what was NOT done?
LTHSstudent November 04, 2012 at 08:36 PM
There was far more not done in my opinion. Many people in Lacey aren't ready to go back, that's why there are so many negative comments obviously.
Susan November 04, 2012 at 08:46 PM
I didn't mean to be insensitive when using the word normalcy. It is just that starting a routine back to school might alleviate the misery outside of school and put students in a situation to be back to something that is familiar. I will not be sending my daughter to school tomorrow with her costume on in respect to those who are still hurting....I wonder why the Superintendent made this decision? Was it a step at picking up the pieces maybe? My heart is sadden for anyone without power or resources...I have been donating and will be volunteering this week with my husband as well.
Louie November 04, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I agree with agreewiththelaw comments But would like to see a delayed opening as well for the safety of our students and buses .
LS November 04, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Instead of having school closed on Thursday and Friday, Would it not make sense to just switch and close on Monday and Tuesday? As it is my understanding the teachers convention is canceled
debbie November 04, 2012 at 11:52 PM
At Lanoka HArbor School the parties will be on Tues. I believe this is also the case at the other elem schools andMP
Melissa Gregg November 05, 2012 at 03:34 AM
I am very stressed tonight with the thought of back to school tomorrow. Our street is still closed with no power. We are fortunate to be staying with family and thankful I was able to keep my family all together during this tragedy. I know I am lucky and have a home to go back to eventually. However, I had to rummage around my dark home with flashlights to find backpacks and lunch bags and clothes. Yes, my fault I did not think of it earlier in the day, but when you are displaced and evacuated you don't think clearly. A quick stop at Walmart go grab what the kids will need for lunches in school, wait make that two stops because I forgot drinks. Again, my fault but again it is difficult to think clearly. Now in the morning I need to figure out how to get my children ready for school without disrupting the family members of where we are staying and drive my children to and from school. I am also concerned if my children are going to do ok in school since they are not in our home right now and out of normalcy. Maybe they need the distraction... I will find out. Yes I know, I have it easy compared to people whom have lost everything in our community. I think an additional week would have really helped many people settle back home and regain power before returning to school. My point is I am not enduring nearly as much as others are and it is hard and stressful.
Elaine Piniat (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 04:39 AM
For all those wondering...Dr. Brower said that elementary students will be encouraged by their principals to wear their costume on Tuesday for celebrations but since trick or treating is scheduled for Monday, students can also come dressed in their costumes tomorrow. A decision about Thursday and Friday will be made by Monday at 1 p.m.


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