As the Border Fire burned large areas of rural South County,
education and law enforcement officials worked together to ensure students were
safe, comfortable, and learning.
Nearly 80 teenage boys attending Barrett High School at Camp
Barrett were relocated late Sunday night to East Mesa Juvenile Detention
Facility. Both facilities are run by the San Diego County Probation Department
and have schools operated by the San Diego County Office of Education as part
of its Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS).
Classes were canceled on Monday to give the students a
chance to adjust to their new living quarters and schedules. Teachers and
support employees have also had to adjust to the new situation, including some
who were displaced by the fire, said Joanne Finney, principal of San Diego SOAR
Academy, the JCCS program that includes both schools.
“The teachers have just been absolutely incredibly
flexible,” Finney said.
The Sheriff’s and Probation departments have also been very
helpful and cooperative, she said.
“They have been beyond kind and generous — really hospitable
folks,” she said.
The students are expected to resume classes at Camp Barrett
Sheriff’s deputies are working with the students who will be
leaving the program soon to collect some personal belongings from Camp Barrett
so they can take them home with them.
“It has been a really beautiful thing to see how everybody
has come together to keep these boys safe, in class, and as comfortable as
possible,” Finney said. “The boys are getting whatever they need.”
The employees at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility
were particularly helpful to the incoming teachers, teacher Shelly Goins said.
“It was all
hands on deck as they moved furniture, swept, dusted, and stocked six classrooms
with the necessary supplies,” she said.
With the help
of all of this preparation, the teachers were able to ensure their lessons were
entertaining and substantive.
lessons on calculating college and household expenses, propaganda techniques in
political campaigns, and even a fierce game of Scrabble,” Goins said.