Parents say homeless students an issue in Hauppauge

September 23, 2013 2:56:11 PM PDT
Parents on Long Island are not happy that children who live in a homeless shelter are going to their children's school.

They say students weren't enrolled in other schools in the district.

The district says it has to do with enrollment.

"We welcome them, we all want to work together, we want to make it work," a parent said.

But parents of students at Forest Brook Elementary in Smithtown say what's happening now is not working.

10 homeless children were enrolled in the school this year.

Parents say nothing was put into place to deal with the behavior issues that have come up.

"We've had punching, biting, we've had teachers that have had to wrestle kids to the ground and these things are happening in front of kids that are here all the time," said Maureen Arasmo, a parent.

"It's frustrating when you go to the Board of Ed meeting and everyone says, 'We don't have a plan, we don't have a plan,'" said Theresa Crafa, a parent.

Some parents say they also don't understand why all 10 children, and the responsibility, weren't spread throughout the district's elementary schools.

"It's not about the residents not wanting the kids to get an education, it's about not wanting them all concentrated in the one school," said Judith Olaechea, a parent.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, the superintendent of the Hauppauge School District said, "The placement of these students was made based upon enrollment in our elementary schools as it relates to class size and the availability of support services for our students."

"There was nothing put in place ahead of time to handle what we were getting," Arasmo said.

A local legislator says he's trying to set up a meeting with parents there and federal officials who are used to dealing with these types of situations.