Skip to comments.Tall Afar Meeting Addresses School Openings
Posted on 10/11/2005 6:22:57 PM PDT by SandRat
TALL AFAR, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2005 Coalition commanders and 14 headmasters of area schools met Oct. 6 to discuss and coordinate the clean-up, repair and opening of schools here. "As you look around this room, you can see that whether you are Sunni, Shiite, Turkmen or Kurd, you all agree on your children, your future," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher Gibson, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
"We hope we can leave those schools as soon as possible but we do not want to do so too early and allow the criminals to come back."
U.S. Army Capt. Kenneth Burgess
Coalition leaders, as well as the headmasters attending the meeting, hope to begin classes no later than Oct. 17, 2005, said U.S. Army Capt. Ryan Hambleton, a civil affairs team leader with the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion.
Prior to opening the schools, several issues have to be addressed by the parties who attended the meeting.
Many of the schools are sitting in a state of disrepair after military operations damaged them over a month ago.
Rubble and trash currently litter the schools, the buildings are missing windows and doors, and supplies necessary for classes are in short supply. Some schools are also currently housing U. S. troops. The first goal of the coalition is to remove the trash and debris currently in the schools.
Coalition forces gave the headmasters of the most heavily damaged parts of the city the opportunity to hire their own work force to clean their individual schools, Hambleton said.
Local security forces also have a labor force at their disposal if any headmaster has difficulties recruiting workers, Hambleton added.
The headmasters will be in charge of the clean-up but coalition forces will be checking on the progress of the workers, said U.S. Army Capt. Kenneth Burgess, the
commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
Once the buildings are cleaned, classes will begin and coincided with the future improvements and repairs, such as new doors and windows.
Finding contractors capable of making necessary repairs to the buildings has been a problem for the commanders in the area.
"We have the money ready to fix your schools. What I lack are responsible contractors that can go into the schools and fix the doors, the windows, the ceilings and the floors," Hambleton told the 14 educational leaders.
He asked the headmasters to inform any contractors they know about the current need for skilled labor to repair the schools.
Educational supplies will be given to each school once the buildings are cleaned, Hambleton said. Having U.S. soldiers living in some of the schools poses a particular problem for several of the headmasters.
There is no concrete date stating when the soldiers will be leaving their positions.
Burgess said the security situation in the city will dictate when the soldiers will leave the schools.
"We hope we can leave those schools as soon as possible but we do not want to do so too early and allow the criminals to come back," Burgess said.
Coalition leaders charged the headmasters with the task of forming plans to temporarily relocate classes if the security situation calls for an ongoing occupation of some of the schools, Burgess said.
U.S. forces will announce the start of school here once the buildings are cleaned and able to support the educational process.
Gee..... I haven't heard this on the LSM
Schools opening ~ Bump!
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