School Climate & Safety

Relief Donations Languish At Contaminated Facility

By Lisa Fine — November 14, 2001 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A group of students from Indiana who hand-delivered a check for $1,500 to the American Red Cross headquarters here while on a field trip to the nation’s capital may have had the right idea, their teacher said.

The Red Cross has collected almost $1.5 million in a special relief fund for Afghan children after President Bush called on American schoolchildren last month to send a dollar apiece to the cause in care of the White House. But money sent by many other students have been piling up at the White House’s off- site postal facility, in effect quarantined after anthrax spores were found there last month.

“It’s too bad,” said Benny Newell, an honors government teacher who brought 17 students from Madison Consolidated High School in Madison, Ind., to Washington two weeks ago. “There’s a lot of money just sitting there not getting to the children in Afghanistan.”

The White House announced Oct. 23 that anthrax spores had been found on a mail slitter at the postal site, which has been closed while the source of the contamination is investigated.

President Bush announced the creation of the fund, dubbed America’s Fund for Afghan Children, on Oct. 12. Letters for the fund received before the contamination was detected were forwarded to a contractor hired by the Red Cross to open its mail.

The White House postal facility, located at a nearby military base, will be decontaminated, and the letters still there will be sterilized before they are sent on, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters.

Officials believe the discovery of anthrax-causing bacteria at a number of post offices in the Northeast have not hurt the fund. As of last week, the fund had received 242,010 letters containing $1.47 million in donations, according to the Red Cross.

Mail Will Go Through

Officials could not say how many other letters addressed to the fund might be on hold at the White House postal facility.

“We are still not receiving any [new] mail from the White House,” said Leslie Van Sant, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross. “But the thing that kids need to know is that it’s going to go through whatever sterilization process and get to us at some point.”

Children can also make their donations at change-counting Coinstar machines, which are located at many grocery stores, she said.

Mr. Newell, the Indiana teacher, said his students’ decision to deliver the check in person had nothing to do with the anthrax-related mail snarl. Instead, he said, they just made the delivery as part of a long-planned trip to Washington to visit Capitol Hill and other landmarks.

“We didn’t even think of the problems with the mail,” he said. “But we are glad we made that part of the field trip so that the money got through. ... It was a very strange time for us to be in Washington. We kind of stood out because no one else was there.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the November 14, 2001 edition of Education Week as Relief Donations Languish At Contaminated Facility

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Roads Around Schools Are Unsafe, Principals Say. Here's What to Do About It
Traffic conditions aren't fully within school leaders' control. But there are still steps schools can take to help students arrive safely.
4 min read
Focus is on a flashing school bus stop sign in the foreground as a group of schoolchildren cross a parking lot with the help of a crossing guard in the distance.
E+
School Climate & Safety Video Should Teachers Carry Guns? How Two Principals Answer This Question
One has two armed school employees. The other thinks arming teachers is a bad idea.
4 min read
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
George Walker IV/AP
School Climate & Safety Former Uvalde Police Chief Indicted Over Response to Robb Elementary Shooting
The former chief and another former officer face felony charges of child endangerment and abandonment.
3 min read
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at the school.
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in the shooting at the school.
Jae C. Hong/AP
School Climate & Safety Can a Teachers' 'Bill of Rights' Bring Order to the Classroom?
Alabama's new law gives teachers the authority to remove misbehaving students from class.
4 min read
Image of a student sitting outside of a doorway.
DigitalVision