Noelle Walker

Richardson ISD Helps Students After Tornado Damages School

Students at Richland Elementary will be back in their regular classrooms on Friday. After Sunday's tornado knocked out power, pre-K through 6th grade were moved to temporary classrooms at another Richardson ISD building until power could be restored.

"Our goal was to get them here safely, to love on them, to feed them, and then to send them home safely," Principal Lauren Bolack said. "And whatever learning took place was going to be a gift and an extra in that."

Richardson ISD said more than 100 students from Richland Elementary are homeless after the tornado. 67% of students at the school are already living in poverty.

"My stomach started hurting, this numbness of what are these people going through," Bolack said. "They'll flat out tell you that maybe they lost things, but there's no effect to it. It's just something else that had happened."

For two days, Richland Elementary students attended school in 'classrooms' made from room dividers with pink construction paper covering them. Teachers read books, taught math, and let the children talk about what happened.

"You're helpful, but then you're helpless at the same time," school counselor Jennifer Santoyo said. Santoyo was busy making phone calls to families who were hardest hit by the storm, offering help. "Bless you. I hope y'all are safe and we'll look forward to talking with you," she told one parent over the phone.

Richardson ISD is working with the Network of Community Ministries to get donations and help families who have been displaced find permanent housing. For more information or if you want to help, click here.

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