The Bell Chimes

Homeless But Not Hopeless

Ms. Harrington, Bell High's School Nurse, helps students in difficult living situations, including homlessness, get the resources they need.

Ms. Harrington, Bell High's School Nurse, helps students in difficult living situations, including homlessness, get the resources they need.

Lesly Jimenez

Lesly Jimenez

Ms. Harrington, Bell High's School Nurse, helps students in difficult living situations, including homlessness, get the resources they need.

Lesly Jimenez, Opinion Staff Writer

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Imagine struggling to find a place to spend the night or where you’ll wash up while still  having to keep your grades up. Imagine having to study for a final coming up when you don’t know whose house you’re staying in that night.

For some students at Bell, this is real.

Students should have a right to better resources that can help them feel comfortable and supported in their learning environment. This includes free health resources and the support to deal with the situation.

“[There are] times where there is conflict in every house. I’ll sleep at my mom’s house, my dad’s, my grandma’s, sometimes my boyfriends… I’ll be running on just a couple of hours of sleep,” said one Bell High student.

Managing courses can be challenging for students without a home. It only adds to the challenge if those students are afraid to come forward and ask for assistance from an educational system that doesn’t have many options for them in the first place.

For example, one of the options LAUSD is the Homeless Education Program which provides students in a difficult living situation with school supplies, backpacks, clothing, and transportation. However, most students aren’t even aware of the existence of these programs, and those that do are afraid to draw unwanted attention to themselves.

Bell High School should make an effort to implement programs like the Homeless Education Program and inform students that these programs are available to them, by making homeroom announcements or putting up posters around campus assuring the students anonymity. This will encourage students to come forward and get the help they need.

In LAUSD school districts alone there are 13,794 identified students going to school without a stable home many of which lack basic school supplies and a reasonable environment to do homework as well.

The nurse’s office is the only other resource these students can rely on but that’s no longer enough. One nurse alone can’t realistically take care of the 208,644 students currently enrolled in Bell High.

“We don’t know their living situation, we don’t know if they have running water..they could even be homeless…Do you know how many kids there are? It would be impossible to check all of them…they should hire more nurses,” said Bell High’s Nurse, Mrs. Harrington.

The role the nurse plays in a school scenario is irreplaceable for the individuals in a difficult situation that rely on those free supplies and might be too embarrassed to ask friends or teachers for help. The nurse offers students that might need it a place to wash up, 25 cent pads/hygiene supplies, as well as a place to rest. If Bell High hired one more nurse or accepted help from parents that would like to volunteer it would be easier to provide the help these students need without making them feel confronted.

Regardless of personal struggles and living situation, every student has the right to a good, equal education.

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22 Responses to “Homeless But Not Hopeless”

  1. Karla Acevedo on June 21st, 2017 7:56 pm

    I wasn’t aware that there were so many cases of homeless kids in LAUSD. I agree that Bell High school should make an effort to inform students that these issues are present in the school by making posters or announcements. In addition, this can inform homeless students on the programs that are available for them, give them courage to ask for help, and make them realize they are not alone.

    Karla Acevedo
    Track: Magnet
    For detention hours

  2. Juan Jose Hernandez on June 21st, 2017 11:40 pm

    In my opinion bell high school students should make a club regarding the program for homeless student that don’t know where to sleep or don’t have clothes or supplies for school and students should put posters up and mentioned in the speakers during home room that way students know where to go in case they don’t have somewhere to sleep or don’t have a place to live so in that case they have some where to go to.
    Juan Jose Hernandez
    Track:A Grade:12

  3. Andrea Corona on June 22nd, 2017 10:19 am

    The school administration needs to make this a more known issue in our community, usually people just call CPS if they hear a student is having problems at home! I also think the school administration should be more vocal about the resources there is (h.e.p) for students with these problems, it can save a life. There should be more funding for Bell Nurses, the nurse regularly misses days and the nurse’s office is closed for students – in that case what is a student to do?

    For hours.

  4. JimenezYesenia on June 22nd, 2017 11:38 am

    I think Bell High should post posters around campus that way if any students are in need of help they will see that theres people at school that can help them on what he/she is going through and inform him of the programs there is to help him and let them know he’s not alone. I do think parents should volunteer to help the nurses and students if they are going through this situation. A good idea would be get people to donate food, blankets, shoes, clothes supplies these students need to survive. If we all come together meaning students, parents, teachers and staff we can accomplish big things to help the kids. But they cant help kids if they don’t speak up! So thats why they have to let students know in any way possible they’re not alone and theres help for them.
    Track: 12A Mr. Jansen

  5. Diana Perez on June 22nd, 2017 1:54 pm

    Yes i think its best to hire more nurses. The school should provide the students who are homeless some clothes, school supplies, etc. They should put up posters so they know they can get some help and it should be confidential. The school should help the kids that are homeless find an outreach program. Although the struggles, the student has to try their best to be in the right mindset and still keep their grades up.
    Clear Detention Hours
    Diana Perez

  6. Jeselle Brijlall on June 22nd, 2017 9:25 pm

    I feel like Bell should inform students more about these programs. I wasn’t even aware this program existed. Mainly, I’m glad that we provide help to students in need. Sometimes people just need a little help to get them back on their feet. Not everyone has the privilege to have a roof over their head, food on their table every night, or having nice things. The word about this program should be spread throughout the community to gain more volunteers.

    Jeselle Brijlall
    Track: A Grade:12
    detention hours

  7. Bianca Solano on June 22nd, 2017 10:46 pm

    The district should absolutely push more programs like this. i’m sure there are rules in place to protect the students information from getting out. This is so necessary and needed for some student that are dealing with the struggle. Student should always feel like they aren’t alone.

    Bianca Solano (12/M)
    detention hours

  8. Nicole J. Flores on June 23rd, 2017 12:19 am

    As many of my classmates mentioned, I was too unaware of the circumstances students at my school have faced. It’s good to know that children who are going through situations such as being homeless have resources offered to them. I simply believe that these resources should be promoted more throughout the school campus because it would help even more students.
    Nicole J. Flores
    12 Magnet
    Detention hours

  9. Lizbeth Iribe on June 23rd, 2017 7:41 am

    I think Bell High School should have a donation day & have kids show up if they need something such as clothes, food, water. We should be more acceptable & more giving. If everyone donated at least one thing we’d be able to give kids what they need. I think they shouldn’t charge for pads or hygiene stuff because if they kids don’t have it, it’s most likely they won’t have money either. Also it could be an emergency. I think Bell should start a club where they collect items/food/water for the homeless.
    Mr.Jansen 12B
    Detention hours

  10. Genesis Ramirez on June 23rd, 2017 9:03 am

    I never realized how many kids were actually homeless and how big of an issue that was here at Bell High School. I’m glad to hear that there is a program funded to help these students. However it seems pretty contradictory if none of these students are even aware of the program. I think implementing a way for more students to be able acknowledge this program would help. Students shouldn’t feel afraid to come seek help from school which is practically another home to them as students spend most of their lives in school.

    Genesis Ramirez

  11. Cassandra Mendez on June 23rd, 2017 10:01 am

    It’s unfortunate that so many students are struggling though this issue, it’s also amazing that our school nurse is so concerned about it and going what’s beyond her job to do what she can to help those that need it. The Homeless Education Program should also be promoted more around school campus to get the word out. I think there should also be a place where students can donate their time and clothes for a better cause. Student deserve an education regardless of their home situation and everyone should try to do what they can.
    Cassandra Mendez
    For hours

  12. Nathalie Cruz Track B on June 23rd, 2017 10:29 am

    I am aware that everyone has their own conflicts at home. But that doesnt stop us from making our sacrifices to come to school. Many students come to school for the better because they plan to achieve goals. Due to these problems it makes us a stronger and independent person. Bell High School has been a great supportive system on always telling us if we have any problem we can always count on them. I truly believe the Homeless education program should be produced for the well being of our students.

    For hours

  13. paola manjarrez on June 23rd, 2017 11:20 am

    I think letting the word out and letting other kids know its okay that they need help and assurance is very important. having more nurses around making posters spreading the word around school would help drimendously and change kids mindset let them know its okay. hiring more nurses would help homeless students with supplies they need such as clothes to stay warm during cold weather. hanging posters would help students not be ambarrased or shy of what they go through and help them speak up about there situation.

    track A 12

  14. Jerry Monroy on June 23rd, 2017 11:20 am

    This article hits deep because there is really lots and lots of homeless people and homeless kids out here. California in general by itself has a big homeless rate , I work at subway in maywood and there’s atleast 4 different homeless people hanging around there and that doesn’t count the ones across the street. Most people should be grateful they have homes and should do anything to help others. Bell high school should fund something like that to help out honestly !.

  15. Jerry Monroy on June 23rd, 2017 11:21 am

    Jerry Monroy
    Track: B
    For hours

  16. Shayna Lopez on June 23rd, 2017 11:34 am

    We constantly see things like this happening but never realize that these problems are a lot closer to home than we think. I hope each and every one of those students is able to find the right information they need in order to help them find a place to stay and having one less problem to worry about so they can focus on their school work and use that to grant them a better and brighter future.
    Shayna Lopez (12/A)
    For hours

  17. Evelyn gonzalez on June 23rd, 2017 11:46 am

    Its unbelievable that so many students are homeless. I think its great that the district and schools provide students with such great resources. Although its a great chance, and opportunity i believe that these options should be promoted more throughout the halls.
    Evelyn Gonzalez
    12 A
    Detention hours

  18. Jailene Rodriguez on June 23rd, 2017 1:14 pm

    More nurses would be more helpful for the students and the people who try to help the kids as well. I didn’t know that there were so many cases about kids being homeless. I didn’t think that it was a big issue here. It is very important that every student gets the same privileges as anybody else. I do agree in the fact that students should be talked about this issue because not everyone is aware of it and it was make the kids feel more safe and comfortable in the environment. Bell High School is always helping kids do better and giving them a good environment that will be something added to the list of the good things that they have done. In conclusion, this can help many homeless kids at Bell High School to help them not give up even if they are going through hard times.

    Jailene Rodriguez
    Track C
    Detention Hours

  19. Valerie Sanchez on June 26th, 2017 11:46 am

    I really had no idea how serious of a case this was. Looking around the school I wouldn’t be able to pick out any students that are homeless they all look okay and you really wouldn’t know what anyone is going through just by looking at them. That’s why I think it is important not to tease anyone for anything. Don’t tease someone for not wearing name brands or not having the latest iPhone. You never really know what could put people over the edge. It’s really sad to know that some of my fellow classmates are going through these things. Reading this also made me really greatful for what I have, I’m so thankful to have my mother in my life supporting me putting a roof over my head. I hope and pray that each student continues to getting the help they need and encourage any students in similar situations to come forward and get the help they need.
    Track: C Grade:12 Detention Hours

  20. Enzo Vasquez on June 26th, 2017 11:52 am

    I wasn’t aware that so many kids ran into that issue. I personally never had an issue when it comes to finding a home. What this article discusses is very true, no child should go through such a struggle to find a place to stay at for the night. In my opinion it is very important that every student gets the same privileges as anybody else. Therefore all kids who have that issue should get help from the district because even if they don’t have a home they really try to get an education and it shows how passionate they are about succeeding in school. In conclusion what bell is doing is really nice.

    Enzo Vasquez
    Detention hours

  21. Julian rocha on June 26th, 2017 12:30 pm

    I feel like bell high school should start a program that will allow students to bring in any product they can to help out the people with needs. We can help out every individual who is struggling. I think if everyone donated it will help so much because anything is better than nothing, we need to help out kids who don’t have the luck we have. They need to work extra hard for what they want and we can all get together and help anyone with. I know bell high school can be the great with this because they always help every individual when anyone needs anything.
    Julian rocha 12/B
    Detention hours

  22. Susana Hernández on June 26th, 2017 9:25 pm

    When I read this article I was shocked. I was not even close to being aware that bell high LAUSD had this program for those who need help. Now that I know this I defenitly thing there should be more nurses and that they should do flyers, or other tings to inform these kids that there not alone and that they can receive the help that they need. I know feel like I wanna do something for these kids. I never thought these kids were actually in my school.
    Susana Hernandez
    Detention hours

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