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Malpass students to miss Christmas break

READ MORE: Malpass students to miss Christmas break
The holiday break for some Pender County students will not be as long as many hoped for. After a fire broke out in Malpass Corner Elementary School last week, school officials decided the lost days would be made up by cutting into the holiday break, something some parent's aren't happy about. Rebecca Rivenbark has a fifth grader at Malpass Corner Elementary School. She said the school dipping into the holiday break for make-up days is a major problem. “The plane tickets have already been bought that's four or five hundred dollars down the drain because she can't go now, she has to go to school." All 504 Malpass Corner students have been out of school since a fire broke out in a bathroom. Clean up efforts have caused students to miss nine days of school, which the Pender County school board decided will be made up by taking five days away from the Christmas break, a teacher work day in March, and the first three days of spring break. Jamie Whitmore has two children at Malpass. She said the school board did not do enough to get input from parents, much less notify them of the changes. “When you leave a message it's weeks on end before you hear back from anyone. You really feel like your opinion does not matter." School officials said the challenge they have is making sure students complete a required 180 days of instruction without cutting into their testing schedule or adding additional days to the end of the school year. Joyce Keith, Pender County Community Schools Director, said, "With this being the holiday season, families already have holiday plans and activities, but this is just a situation that wasn't in our control." Schools officials said phone calls have gone out to parents and the school's website has been updated with new information. Letters will also be going out to parents today. Pending an inspection from the health department, students will return to class on Monday. Administrators and the superintendent will be on hand then, and may take certain family's situations into consideration.

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Now that we have heard from the whiners and complainers,

it would be nice to hear from some of the parents who always have to find and pay for child care during the Christmas break. It would be good for the parents to work with the school system instead of againt it most of the time. Show your children you are behind decisions made by the school system. Believe it or not it can teach your children some respect, something they are dearly lacking now a days. Your children will get over their lack of play days or shall we say eventual boredom they experience when not kept busy. As for parents, bite the bullet, and take the big people pill. I would hope that when you had children you had the foresight to figure concessions in your plans would have to be made at times due to you children's schooling, etc.

Instead of missing Christmas Break

I grew up in South Florida and was in 6th grade the year David blew through. The roof collapsed on our middle school. The solution the school officials came up with was the high schoolers went to school from 7AM-1230pm and the middle schoolers took over the high school from 1pm-630pm. Now granted it was longer than 10 days we had to do this. I would personally give up say 3 days during spring break, a few more teacher workdays, aren't there a few in January 2 weeks after we return from Christmas break? and add the rest onto the end of the year. I don't think taking Christmas break should be an option, pretty crummy if you ask me.

Where there's smoke there's fire

I'm interested if there's any pictures or video of the fire scene. I haven't seen any on the news. I know the boy started it in the bathroom according to reports, in a paper towel dispenser. How far did the fire spread? Bathrooms used to be out of cinder block, or tile to the best of my recollection. Is the entire school closed? Seems like a long time of kids being out of school. Is the extent of damage this major? Clarification is needed. Why not let the kids make up time at the end of the year? Any information would be great. Oh, who's paying the tab? The parent or school? Thanks

The fire got into the HVAC

The fire got into the HVAC system. The fire wasn't extensive, but without clean air circulating, the kids couldn't attend school. From what I hear, that had to be re-done and cleared before students could return to school.

UM if its a PUBLIC school

UM if its a PUBLIC school the tax payers dollars will pay for this.

Here's a novel thought, why

Here's a novel thought, why not eliminate some of the excessive "teacher workshop days?" What do they have now? 3 days and 2 half days a month for "teacher enrichment?" Whatever happened to actually going to school 5 days a week, 20 days a month, with 1 teacher work day a quarter?

In a perfect world, this

In a perfect world, this would be great. Teachers do a lot more than teach. Teacher workdays are used not only for enrichment, but also for parent meetings, re-organization, paperwork (that the state mandates), faculty meetings etc. On an average day, (I'm a teacher), I work 7:30-5:30! That's 10 hours. Not including the time I spend after I get home on other work. As I see it, we only have about 3 teacher workdays a semester other than the week before school starts. That's 3 days to handle 10 days worth of work! We get a half day every other month in Pender County. We have to go to workshops because again, the state MANDATES that we attend workshops to help us better teach America's children. Rightfully so! Our kids deserve the latest and greatest that we can offer! It's unfortunate that parents find our schools as a free babysitter instead of a place of education!

Who would have the nerve to

Who would have the nerve to start this fire anyway!?!

He's probably good friends.....

...with the guy who tackled the principal down here...

Make Up Days

It is utterly ridiculous to make up these days over the holiday break. I can't understand why the school district would not consider adding 2 hours to the school day to make this time up; or attend a few Saturday mornings to make up the days; or better yet, add the days to the end of the school year. If my child was in attendance at this school, they WOULD NOT be attending school during the holiday break. Kids are allowed some unexcused absences. Parents, if you have made plans, keep them, don't let the school and adminstrators intimidate you to make up these days. I am sure that the attendance rates for those days will be way down anywaym, that the school will realize that they should have done something differently. DON'T GO! ENJOY THE HOLIDAY! HAVE FUN! ENJOY FAMILY TIME! AND COME BACK AFTER THE NEW YEAR!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

You do realize the little

You do realize the little firebugs life in this school system is over....these kids will always remember this kid and he will NEVER live this down....everyone makes mistakes and this kid will forever be known for "this" one....And, I think the time missed from school can be made up elsewhere.... like maybe "other" holidays????

I am a student at MCE and I

I am a student at MCE and I am very upset about these make-up days. Lots of parents had plans to fly out of town with their kids for Christmas break and now us kids have to go to school. The work of that one pender county boy has turned Pender County inside out.I was looking forward to spending my christmas break with my aunts but now, I have to go to school.I just dont think its fair. I could understand if they took some of our Saturdays away but They just had to take Christmas break. Ms.Jordan,our principal last year knew what she was doing when she said that we couldnt go to the bathrooms by ourselves. After she told us that, we wanted our freedom back. Now that Mr.Buchanan gave us that freedom we asked for, 1 10 year old had to take advantage of our priviledes.

I am a 5th grade student at MCE also

This morning my parents got a letter from MCE in the mail and it said no-one started the fire because nobody was in the bathroom while the fire was occuring.While some people think it is true,others deny it.Well, is it true?

No one started the fire

No one started the fire

If you were my child, you

If you were my child, you would not be going to school over the Christmas break. I agree with you seeing and spending time with your family is important during the holidays

Education is more important

Education is more important than holidays.

You are right that Education

You are right that Education is important, however the administrators could have worked out an alternative plan that would make the children happy, the parents happy and the teachers. I am not sure how much these children will learn with teachers who are also upset that they have to give up their holiday plans.

It really doesn't matter how

It really doesn't matter how the board chose to make up these days, negative people still would have been calling the news and writing comments just like the ones on this page complaining. If you already have plans, then so what, your child misses a few days, but does whining about it really do any good?

I guess that's up to the

I guess that's up to the parents. If they are moaning and groaning, so will the kids. Of course the administration *could* have made a different decision, but they didn't. So there is a lesson that parent's SHOULD take the opportunity to share with their kids; "Yes kids, it stinks that our plans were interrupted, but your education is a top priority and we'll support you, and want you to go to school and support each other." Life throws us curves. Much better to teach them how to handle the things that are out of their control, then to teach them to whine and pout about them. Press on, rise above. Much better than whining.


I am a parent, my children don't attend your school but my heart goes out to you kids that are made to suufer because on one child. If my children were in your school I would proceed with my plans. I believe if all the parents stood together on it they could make a change. I'm sorry and I hope your parents and other parents there take my advice. Please try to have a Merry Christmas.

Make-up days

So "school officials" said they had to make the required number of instructional days without "adding additional days to the end of the school year." Why? How is it possible that EVERY school in the northern half of the country can manage to make up multiple days, primarily by ADDING ADDITIONAL DAYS TO THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR??? Yet a single day for a hurricane (that wasn't) or a very minor fire results in the elimination of Thanksgiving or Christmas break with two weeks notice? Strange, I would have thought that schools in the bible belt would have more respect for a secular holiday that promotes family gatherings. Perhaps eliminating spring break would be a better idea? Or how about extending the school year??? Why is that forbidden????

A question for the school officials

A question for the school officials, board of ed, all the ones higher up making these decisions. The principals, the teachers, the kids are all required to be there correct? OK I hope you will also show your support by also having the board of ed open and all of you working. Lets cancell your plans and join them, or may get out there and volunteer your time at the school, help out the teachers, see whats beyond the security of your offices. what you did not take into concideration is that alot of these children come from split families and this is the only real time beside a few weeks during the summer some even get to spend with the absent parents. TY for your time, and hope you do whats right, whats good for the ones one the bottom must be good enough for you,, see you on those days as well!!!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Other Schools

Where I am from originally we started school in early August in anticipation for missed days for snow/ice. They school board knows that there will have to be days where there can't be school and they prepare for that by adding in extra days in the schedule.

don't blame the school

It's not the school's fault. They are required to have students in class for a certain number of days a year, no matter what. It could be worse, btw. The elem and middle school i went to in columbus county, where my mother also teaches, burned to the ground about five years ago. They had to make up all the days that were missed. They had classes in tiny trailers for two to three years until the county came up with the money and finally was able to rebuild the school. That was Williams Township School btw.

School Days

Yes, you are correct. Our community lost alot when we lost our historic WTS but I don't recall any of our kids having to take away from their Christmas break to make up any days. Get real, because you are not in school now and much older please don't excuse yourself from the fuss of having to go to school during Christmas. Bet you would appreciate being home or with out of state family yourself. There is no reason these kids should have to be placed in this situation during their Christmas break. The days should be made up since that is a requirment but do so by taking teacher work days, martin luther king day, or something like that. Don't take these kids Christmas...Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!!! Merry Christmas To All..

Wrong, it is the School Boards Fault

There are several teacher work days throughout the year that could be used. Also, I'm sure parents and students would rather have a few days added onto the end of the school year. If I was one of the parents that already bought plane tickets, the schooling would just have to wait. There is no way I would throw away any money because the school board decided not to get input from the parents. Sure you could get most of your money back, but there is a cancellation fee. The school board screwed up here and should have to pay for it. There are other ways around this and they just didn't want to set down and figure them out

the parents of the child

the parents of the child that caused this catastraphe should feel the burden of a holiday lost, not our children.

lose days of school

I pray for you and your family,I pray that your family is as perfect as you think they are,you should walk in their shoes before you go running your mouth,I am sure theses parents did not raise their child to play with fire.If the world was as you wanted there would be alot of parents in jail ,prison or worse dead.The family needs prayers not condemnation times are bad enough with out other human being judging them.God bless you and your family and the families of everyone effected by this unfortunate incedent.