Thousands of Families Displaced in New Jersey Will Have Class and Music in Schools After Storm

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The election ended about two weeks ago, but among thousands of families who lost in the epic battle to take down the historic Trump administration will be those with children who still need school.

On the worst day, Nancy Fusco left work early to spend some time with her daughter.

“I have all this exhaustion,” she explained, “but I also have the reality of what we have to go through. That’s what keeps me going.”

The Fuscos were the fourth of 5,000 families displaced in southern New Jersey.

Besides security guard shifts that usually start around 7:00 a.m., the students who lost their teachers and staff are adjusting to strangers and new experiences in new circumstances. For some, there’s more than excitement.

Sarah Hankins, 12, said the lack of teachers is actually kind of a blessing. “I actually like them, but I like being the teacher because you’re in charge and you’re doing all the stuff, and you’re the boss and it’s fun.”

With school on break over the break, the Fuscos took a five hour overnight bus ride to Trenton, just to see their old local, Tucker Elementary School. It’s an idea Sandy Fusco thinks back to after a quick visit to her mother’s office and then a walk down memory lane on the west side.

“I remember walking out of the school, just because it was my first time going in,” she said. “I mean, this building was just everything. It was everything. It was like the hub. It was the beginning of everything that was going to be there.”

The Fuscos told their story to member John Cappiello, who reported on this story for The Record, in New Jersey. He said it’s almost too terrible to bear.

“This was where my mom went to school; this was where I went to school. This was where all of us went to school. All of the chairs, all of the tables, the desks… it’s almost impossible for my mother to believe it’s gone,” he said.

Cappiello said families are able to move back into town, for now, with some help from federal and state governments. But school must start in just over two weeks, the word “beginning” being the operative word.

Some new schools are scheduled to open to the community this fall, so school is in session for the short term in some parts of NJ and New York, but the reality that this storm uprooted thousands of children is a challenge for districts, too.

Radio personality James Case of EVB-Presents talked about “The Collision,” on his radio show this morning. His message for all of us, he said, was to honor the hopes and dreams of those displaced. “We let out wishes and dreams on a family that really couldn’t pay us back,” he said.

But back in the Fusco household, life goes on and that’s just fine with Nancy. She carries on because, she said, it’s always been that way. “I feel like I can handle whatever. I can handle anything. I’ve always had that drive. I’ve always had that personality to be resilient and do whatever I have to do.”

To learn more about how these families are adapting, how the situation is being handled in the Garden State, or how to help out, watch Newswatch 16 at 5 and 6 p.m. on FOX21 News.

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