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Albemarle County High School student is trying to get back to the U.S. from Afghanistan

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 3:55 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A ninth grade student is supposed to start classes Monday at Albemarle High School, but she can’t because she’s stuck in Afghanistan with her family.

The school is not releasing the student’s name for confidentiality reasons, but principal Darah Bonham says the student reached out to him last week asking for her class schedule, hoping she would make it back from Afghanistan before the start of school.

“We happen to come across several communications for some of our students, one in particular who happens to be still in Afghanistan,” Bonham said.

Bonham says this has been a life or death situation for the incoming freshman. He spoke to her last week.

“It’s been a horrific situation for her and her family,” Bonham said.

But even in the darkest of days, Bonham says the ninth grader was reaching out about her class schedule.

“We had just gotten ready to release schedules last this week and in looking at that she was concerned about how she’d be able to find out who her teachers were and what that was going to look like, so it really put things into perspective as we start the school year,” Bonham said.

This conflict doesn’t just impact this one student abroad. It impacts the entire school community.

“We have over 20 Afghan families and students that represent our Afghan community,” Bonham said. “We know that this has directly impacted them, so we have to be prepared for what that looks like coming back into school.”

As school begins, the district is gearing up to cater to student mental health needs in case they need help.

“We’ve hired additional 25 mental health professionals for the schools and county, so we have a lot of resources within the building to help students and so now it’s just making sure that we’re communicating with students and with our community so these resources are available for them,” ACPS Counselor Miles Nelson said.

Even though the first day back to school is an exciting time for most, Bonham is thinking about this ninth grader trying to make her way back from Afghanistan.

“She’s one of ours,” Bonham said. “When we are all working through the trials and tribulations trying to get ready for school because we’re super busy, put that into perspective and how do you frame that in the work that you do.

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