School begins with no problems in Kinsman

KINSMAN — Despite the displacement of several families following the July 20 flooding, the first day of school began Tuesday with no problems.

The Joseph Badger Local School District started classes Tuesday for students in grades 1 through 12 from Gustavus, Kinsman, Vernon and Hartford townships. It was exactly one month after the July 20 storm and flooding that affected Kinsman residents.

“There were no issues,” said Superintendent Edwin Baldwin of how the morning went.

According to Baldwin, four Joseph Badger students reside in the Lakeland development — where the Kinsman Lake dam broke and caused major flooding — and each student made it to school on time.

“We’ve been in constant conversation with the parents. We presented them with options, and we are very willing to work with them on this; they’ve been through enough already,” Baldwin said. “We will bend over backward to help them and to accommodate them with whatever they need.”

Marcie Campbell, a Lakeland resident, said she is grateful to the school and the community for their help.

“They’ve (the school) been very helpful, absolutely, yes. They’ve reached out to the families; everyone’s been flexible — the teachers, administration, transportation,” Campbell said, noting that her worry wasn’t on how her daughter was getting to school.

“This is very stressful for these kids. A disruption of this magnitude worries me. I’m having a hard time coping with this. I can’t imagine how my 11-year-old is coping,” Campbell said.

She could not stress enough how helpful Baldwin and the school district have been.

In addition to worrying about how her daughter is coping with this disaster, Campbell’s main concern is safety for the Lakeland residents now as well as safety going into winter.

“We’re not home yet, but the weather could force us home. The police, the schools, churches, they can’t do anymore, but we need more. We can’t say we have a home,” Campbell said. “We just take things one day at a time.”

Campbell and her family have been out of their home for 32 days and are anxious about getting things back to normal. Even with the good news of Gov. Mike DeWine’s State Disaster Relief Program to begin fixing the flood damage, patience is running thin.

“I believe the project has begun, but until we see it, it’s hard to stay patient,” Campbell said.