In the background of the Ferguson protests, everyday life is being disrupted for the tens of thousands of students in the Ferguson-Florissant school district and surrounding areas. The school district has closed for the rest of the week, keeping kids out of class and away from school lunches. And even schools at that are open, like Michael Brown's alma mater, administrators are worried about how students will deal with the unrest.
One of the biggest problems caused by the closings is the lack of access to free school breakfasts and lunches. This school year the Ferguson district joined a federal program that allows all students to receive free breakfasts and lunches — 68 percent of students qualify for free or subsidized lunches, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Nationally, millions of students lose out on meals when schools are closed. During summer vacation, the national number of students receiving school lunches drops from 21 million to 3 million.
Jana Shortt, the school district's director of communications, told PBS that local churches and community organizers have started working to help feed students, and a North Carolina school teacher's Fundly campaign has raised nearly $80,000 to donate to the St. Louis Food Bank.
Meanwhile teachers in the area are encouraging students to visit the local library:
But the real question is how students will handle the aftermath of the protests mentally and emotionally. Shortt said the district has “reached out to outside groups that are providing therapists.” At Michael Brown's alma mater Normandy High School, which is open, parents were concerned with how students would deal with a combination of the death of an alumni and the dismissal of 40 percent of teachers, NBC News reported.
“To have the turmoil of something like the incident last Saturday, added to the first day of school with a whole lot of newness to it with new teachers when the kids step back on campus, that’s rough,” John Kennedy, a Normandy teacher who taught Brown, told NBC News.