Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Immigrant influx strains EBR teaching staff

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BATON ROUGE - An influx of immigrant children is putting a strain on resources for the East Baton Rouge Parish School District. More than a thousand unaccompanied alien children are now in schools across the state.

East Baton Rouge Parish has 173 students from Central America recently enrolled that may be unaccompanied minors who have flooded over the southern border this summer. Part of more than a thousand who landed in Louisiana.

"The majority come from Honduras," said Keith Bromery, spokesman for East Baton Rouge School Board. "The remainder come from El Salvador and Guatelmala."

The students are scattered throughout the system at 16 elementary schools, seven middle and seven high schools. Now the school system is struggling to accommodate the special needs of students who don't speak English. East Baton Rouge is maxed-out when it comes to English-Second-Language professionals.

"We are currently looking for more teachers with the ESL endorsement," Bromery said. "Or bilingual who can support us in this regard."

Federal law requires the kids to stay in the U.S. until their deportation hearings. The head of a state teacher union says that's fine, but the feds should kick in some cash to help the local districts.

"Who's responsible for picking up the tab?" asked Steve Monaghan, head of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. "In (this) case, the federal government. And that's what the expectations should be."

With a mission of educating all children regardless of the circumstances, EBR said they're goals remain unchanged.

"That's our responsibility, to teach students, regardless of where they come from," said Bromery.

Five parishes in the state have these students enrolled. Only Jefferson and Orleans have more than East Baton Rouge.



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