School Back Open After Weekend Fire - - The News for South Mississippi

School Back Open After Weekend Fire

"Teachers, this is to announce that the end of class change is over."

School Counselor Bill Fisher now has a new job. Since the fire destroyed the school's bells, he must announce on a P.A. system when it's time for students to change classes.

There is still some visible evidence from the fire, but the office has been boarded up so students never see the charred walls.

"They've done such a wonderful job," Jones said. "Many students do not know where the burnt area was. Other than us being out of our office, everything has worked out probably as well as could be expected."

English teacher Becky Bordelon decided to use the fire in her lesson. She says students have responded well to the news.

"There's a lot of talk, but we try not to make that the focus of the class," Bordelon said. "We're back on task, we're working hard, and you know, just trying to move on."

One of the students' biggest complaints is the lingering smell of smoke.

"It's been different because of the smell, and it stinks, and you can smell it when you pass the 8th grade offices," Patrick Coleman said.

"I got a headache right now because of that smell," Sheronda Mobley said.

Large fans help to clean the air in the hallways, but school administrators say about two dozen students went home early after complaining of burning eyes, headaches and breathing problems.

Teachers have also been talking with students about what happened and encouraging them to report anything out of the ordinary.

"They need to let the faculty and staff know, because I believe somebody might have known about this even before it happened," Jones said.

The total damage estimates are not available yet, but the school superintendent says it could be between $500,000 and $750,000. As we reported over the weekend, a 14-year-old student at the school was arrested for arson and burglary. His name has not been released because he is a minor.

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