The sign in front of Malpass Corner Elementary School said it all, welcoming students back Monday, nine days after investigators say a 10-year-old student set a fire in a boy's bathroom. Stephanie Ewing, a Malpass Elementary parent said, “Thing's happen, and we're just going to have to do the best that we can do with it.” The school board decided students will make up five of the nine days during Christmas break. Instead of finishing school December 19th like other Pender County schools, Malpass Corner's holiday break begins Christmas Eve, with three more make-up days December 29 through 31st. Cheryl Squires, a Malpass grandparent said, “I hate that they have to make them up through Christmas, but I guess they have to do what they have to do.” Sonya Allen said, “I just think it comes at a really bad time of year.” Her daughter won't be making up those five days; instead they are hitting the road to visit family for Christmas. “I have no choice. I already have it scheduled. I guess that's wrong, but I already have it scheduled.” And there are more make up days to come for Malpass Corner Elementary School students. They'll use a teacher workday March 6, and the first three days of spring break to catch up. Schools are required to hold classes 180 days a year. The student who started the fire is charged with arson.
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