Local school district helps its more than 100 homeless students succeed

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted By Molly Reuter - bio | email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - These economic times are hard for anyone trying to make ends meet, but particularly hard for children classified as homeless who are trying to stay in school.

In any given school year at Longview ISD, a percentage of its students are classified homeless. These are kids that either live in rescue shelters, or worse, on the streets.

"We're looking at around 100 students right now who are in that classification," said Longview ISD Public Information Officer Brian Bowman.  "Just our district alone your looking at over 100 kids that are homeless."  For Loquinta Jones, 17 abandoned by her family and on her own at Hope Haven, district intervention has given her a second chance.

"They have paid for my transportation," said Jones.  "They paid for my Longview Transit Bus pass.  It's a lot of support I didn't have growing up."  From a district standpoint, it's more than just classes and books.  What school officials say they're doing is giving kids a chance at a better life.

"We want every child to have the opportunity to be successful, and to get out of the process that they're in right now," saiD Bowman.  LISD provides meals, transportation, clothing even special backpacks for the kids.

"Friday, before they leave, they will pick up a backpack that is stuffed with food for them to take home on the weekend," said Bowman.  "The only hot meal they receive is at school.  We provide free breakfast and free lunch."  Loquinta has been allowed to make up for lost schooling.

"I got into credit recovery that they have at Longview High School," said Jones.

"Even if you have one student that comes through Longview ISD as a homeless child and they end up being successful and a productive citizen, then I think the whole program in general pays for itself," said Bowman.  As long as the district has anything to do with it, kids like Loquinta will have a chance at a future.

Miss Jones hopes to go on to college and pursue a career in nursing.  LISD even has programs to allow teen mothers to put their kids into daycare while they complete their high school education.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed