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Long Beach, Pass Christian to consider exchange program for Ukrainian students

Published: Jun. 5, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - The devastating effects of the Russian war in Ukraine are mounting.

And the desire to help in South Mississippi is growing.

“We’ve noticed this sort of anecdotally,” said Long Beach school board member Tom Carpenter. “You can pass on beach boulevard, for example, on Highway 90 and where there was once the American flag and the Mississippi flag, now they’re flying the Ukrainian flag.”

Carpenter is proposing an idea for the next school term that would turn that sign of support into action through the student exchange program.

“The thought was, well, we do have an exchange program,” he said. “It’s an established program in place. And, so, we can just expand that to include some additional students particularly this year.”

He’s seeking support from the school boards and aldermen in both Long Beach and Pass Christian for now and hopes to connect with other cities.

Carpenter said the idea is so new that there’s little guidance to follow.

“This is the first that we know of,” he said with a smile. “So, yeah. But of course it would start on the Mississippi Gulf Coast because that’s the kind of people that we are.”

Once he receives the official blessings locally, he will then contact the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to gauge interest and see if it could be done logistically.

“The good that comes from it is obviously the fact that we get to enrich the lives and protect the lives of children that through no fault of their own have been put in a very terrible situation,” Carpenter added. “And it’s something that individuals and Mississippi families can do directly to help people who have been trapped in that situation.”

Carpenter will be presenting the idea to the Long Beach Board of Aldermen at its meeting this Tuesday at 5 p.m.

He also will present it to the Long Beach School Board at its meeting on June 14.

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