Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008 | 2:07 a.m.
Schoolteachers and administrators do not have to check newspapers, TV or the Internet to understand how bad the economy is getting for many people. The news comes to them much more directly.
A growing number of their students do not have the coats they will need for the colder days and nights ahead. They do not even have decent shoes or jeans. Even worse, they are hungry.
Several nonprofit organizations are trying their best to cope with this need, but it is becoming a challenge.
Las Vegas Sun reporter Emily Richmond reported in Monday’s paper that as of Friday, 2,108 students in the Clark County School District met the federal definition of homeless, which is anyone lacking a “fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”
This number of homeless students would be highly troubling even if it stayed the same all year. But it won’t. Richmond reported there were 816 homeless students last year at this time — and about 4,000 by year’s end.
“If we’re this high already, where are we going to be in a few months?” says Myra Berkovits, who coordinates the district’s programs for homeless students.
Schools are relying on such organizations as Caring for Kids, Three Square and Operation School Bell to help meet the growing need. They are doing yeomanly work, but they cannot do it all. And neither can teachers and principals, working as they are in a district with inadequate public funds.
With the housing and credit crises piling on to what is already a stressed economy, our schools and students could really use a big public response to their needs.
Anyone can help by calling the district’s School-Community Partnership Office at 799-6560, or the Title I Hope Office at 855-6682.