Seekonk Schools Welcome 34 New Students
34 new students have been enrolled in Seekonk Public Schools in the last two weeks, according to Superintendent Rebecca Kidwell.
Approximately 40 migrant families are being housed at the Ramada Inn on Route 44 in Seekonk.
“Almost every hotel room that I went to looking for a kindergartner or middle-schooler, there was also a three year-old or an infant,” Kidwell told the school committee Monday. ‘These truly are families, they are not all two parent families, some of them are one adult here with several children. At this point, they live in a hotel room. Some of them are learning varying degrees of English. They speak different languages.”
Kidwell said the parents are doing what they can for their children, considering they came from “a variety of really difficult circumstances.”
Last August, Governor Maura Healey (D) declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts due to the influx of migrant families arriving in the Bay State. The governor has called on the federal government to act to address the issue in Massachusetts.
The administration was notified by the state on October 20 about the sheltering of the migrant families.
“The Town and the School Department have been actively working with the State and the National Guard to assist these families during their stay at the Ramada,” Town Administrator Shawn Cadime said on October 31. “The School District is primarily affected by this placement.”
“We committed to register students as soon as possible under McKinney-Vento, which is the homeless law that allows them to register with whatever documentation they have,” Kidwell explained. “It is impressive to see the number of families who worked hard to preserve their children’s records through difficult circumstances and there are some families who were not able to do so and are here with minimal records.”
The state is providing funding for the new students. Kidwell said the district’s operating budget will not be used for that purpose.
“We are not putting ourselves through a fiscal hardship in that way,” Kidwell said, adding the last two weeks were an “emotional journey” for staff and students.
“We all learned a lot really quickly,” she added.
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