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Camp Fire Children Face Trauma of Climate Change At Home, School

Before school principal Josh Peete led the caravan of teachers and staff around the police barricade, past the burned fire station, and to their smoke-stenched but still-standing classrooms, he issued a directive: Collect only what is needed to lead classes for a few weeks. Everything else must, for now, be left behind. The team nodded.

But once they arrived at Concow Elementary School, one thing led to another, and soon they were filling their cars not only with the requisite textbooks and supplies but also hula-hoops and stuffed animals. A fleet of Radio Wagons was thrown in. The lunch lady insisted on salvaging an ice machine as well as the salad bar. And before long, even Peete found himself wondering aloud whether there was room to load up the school’s musical instruments.

They found room.

“I grabbed stuff that I thought would make them happy because it’s familiar to them,” explained Raynee Sewall, who runs the school’s afterschool program. “They’ve lost so much.”