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Parents demanding answers as Fort Myers Beach Elementary remains closed since Ian

Posted at 10:12 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 22:16:54-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The future of Fort Myers Beach Elementary in question.

Parents are demanding answers as the school remains closed tonight due to Hurricane Ian. The Lee County School District says all options are still on the table for discussion to reopen the school.

But, with each passing day, more and more parents are starting to lose hope.

"If there is no school here, there are no families here period.”

It’s a harsh reality that some parents at Fort Myers Beach Elementary are considering, as the school stands vacant with windows boarded up and books left lying on the ground.

“49 days later, there needs to be, you know, what’s the next step to get them back on campus here,” said Erin Field. She has two children enrolled at the school.

A next step that parents like Field believes has been put on pause for too long.

"What are parents on this island supposed to think?" she said. "They want their kid to go back to school compared to people that have lost everything. They’ve lost their homes, their businesses, their jobs, and then they see their school standing and they see it and they’re like 'It’s not so bad.'”

Field isn’t the only parent who wants to see some action, either.

“It bothers me," says John Koss, whose child attends the school. "It bothers me a lot as a resident of this island that knows how important this school is to our community.”

Koss' 7-year-old is enrolled at the school. He says the thought of the school being closed is unsettling enough, even without the debris drop-off site right next door.

"We’re part of this school and this school is part of us," he says. "It’s like an extension of our family. Losing it is literally like losing an extension of our family and, just to a lot of us, it’s unacceptable.”

The school was inspected by the fire district which authorized it for restricted use. But as each day passes not spent at the school, Koss says it feels like a missed opportunity.

"If we sit here and just board everything up and we let mold grow inside the building, you’re making a decision by not doing anything and I just want to see that change.”

We have reached out to the Lee County School District. They tell us while the voices of parents are being heard and considered, no decisions have been made. They say they are working as quickly as possible to gather all of the necessary information and the school community will be a part of this process.