The Hawaii State Department of Education issued a report Thursday stating that 2,025 students are not accounted in the Lahaina public school system in the wake of the August 8 fire that ravaged the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui. The four schools, two elementary, one intermediary and one high school that comprised the Lahaina school district had a total of 3,001 students enrolled before the fire. The schools are closed due to damage from the fires, with one elementary school heavily damaged and not likely to re-open for some time. The other three suffered damage from high winds, debris and soot. The report does not mention whether–or even the likelihood–many of the missing children were killed in the fire.
The report states that as of August 21, out of the 3,001 students enrolled as of August 8, 538 have “re-enrolled in other public schools”; 438 have “enrolled in the State Distance Learning Program (SDLP), English and Hawaiian language immersion”; and says of the 2,025 not accounted for: “Remainder of students who have not re-enrolled in another public school or opted for distance learning (may have moved out of state, enrolled in private schools)”
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported one private school on Maui has received about 1,000 new applicants since the fire. However the article also mentioned a private school with 200 students had been destroyed by the fire (excerpt):
Meanwhile, Maui’s private schools also are in flux. Maui Preparatory Academy recently received a surge of about 1,000 applications for new openings the school made to accommodate displaced students, officials posted online this week. “We shuffled, rearranged the entire campus to welcome 110 new students (a 40% enrollment increase from last year). It is only a drop in the bucket. So many students not in classrooms today,” the school posted Monday on Instagram.
Sacred Hearts School has posted on its website that its campus faced a “devastating fire that has left our campus in ruins.” A Hawaii Association of Independent Schools report shows the school enrolled about 200 students.
Government officials have not been forthcoming on the number of children killed in the fire. Two weeks out they still only report 115 official deaths and anywhere from 850 to 1,100 people of all ages missing. Officials have not released a list of those presumed missing.
School children in Lahaina were kept home that day due to high winds from an offshore hurricane, with many home alone because their parents were at work.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday on a father who was able to rescue his children from the fire but is anguished because he wasn’t able to save his neighbors’ children (excerpt):
Many of the survivors are angry, and haunted by the thought that a just few minutes of notice could have saved many lives.
Baird’s neighborhood near Lahainaluna Road was filled with kids who were home alone when the flames hit, he said.
“We needed like 10 more minutes, and we could have saved a lot of kids,” he said, choking back tears. “If we’d just had like a 10- or 15-minute warning.”
The family ventured out to a Kahului mall recently, looking for a moment of normalcy in the aftermath of the tragedy. They ran into a playmate of their son.
“The kids just don’t have a filter. So their son ran up and was just telling our son, you know, ‘This kid is dead. This kid is dead.’ And it’s like, all my son’s friends that they come to our house every day,” he said. “And their parents were at work, and they were home alone. And nobody had a warning. Nobody, nobody, nobody knew.”