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By Staff | Aug 25, 2017

Jefferson County’s 2017-18 school year kicked off Monday for most students, while Kindergarten graced the school halls for their very first, first day on Tuesday.

While many students, and even teachers, lamented the start of a new school year, hundreds more were excited to get a new shot at teaching and learning underway. Unfortunately for some students, however, school simply proves as a chance to escape from the realities of everyday life.

With overdoses in the area at staggering numbers, and students living in poverty on the rise across the country, it is hard to imagine some children having to look forward to a school year, for the sheer fact that they’ll get to be themselves for a few hours everyday. There are dozens of children in Jefferson County whose only hot meal a day is the free or reduced lunch they receive at school. For even more others, the end of a school day serves as a reminder that they are going back home to the same neglect and abuse they escaped from only eight hours prior.

This is why it is important for the citizens of Jefferson County – especially Shepherdstown – to rally behind these children. Residents can volunteer to be PASS or Read Aloud volunteers, donate to BackPack Programs, sign up to be substitute teachers or, even to the extreme, decided to become foster care parents.

While many children just need a helping hand from members of the community, still myriads more will be subjected to extreme neglect and abuse over this school year, requiring them to be taken out of their biological family homes. But, we can step up as caring, loving citizens of Jefferson County and apply to be foster parents. That way those kids taken from their homes, due to neglect or abuse, will have somewhere to stay during the school year – giving them a better chance at succeeding academically.