School board: West Lumberton students can stay at Lumberton Jr. High

A long school year finally came to an end Wednesday in Robeson County. 

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – In an unanimous decision, Robeson County School Board members agreed with parents, teachers, and staff that West Lumberton Elementary School students should stay at Lumberton Junior High School while they await the fate of their own building.

“Just yesterday a parent rode by and rolled down the window and told me his son was saying, ‘Daddy, just take me by my school; I wanna see my school,'” remembered Tara Bullard.

Kimberly Demery got emotional as she asked board members to keep students at Lumberton Jr. High during Monday’s meeting.

Bullard, the principal of West Lumberton Elementary, also remembers when Hurricane Matthew came to Lumberton in October. The storm’s flooding devastated much of the city, including West Lumberton, home to about 150 students.

Since school started back several weeks after the storm, those students have had classes at Lumberton Junior High, and with next year on the horizon, Bullard thinks it’s best to stay there for now.

“Maintaining that sense of consistency,” she said, topping her list of why it’s important to stay. “Being able to maintain the culture and identity of our school.”

West Lumberton Principal Tara Bullard was relieved after Monday’s meeting. “They’re thrilled to be coming back here, but they’re still missing their school.”

Bullard said the students have done well sharing a building with new and older students, and they’re glad they get to stay at least another year.

“They’re thrilled to be able to come back here,” said Bullard. “But they’re still missing their school.”

School board members stressed that this was only a solution for next year, so that staff and students can head toward summer without worry. The other option the board considered would send students to Knuckles Elementary School just down the road, but many parents are against moving to yet another building, including Kimberly Demery.

“Just the fact that we don’t know a final decision on the building at West Lumberton, whether they’re gong to rebuild another one or fix West Lumberton” Demery said. “We just felt like it was unnecessary to make that move to another school.”

But students parents and staff are pleased that they won’t have this to worry about as they finish the school year.

“We’re really excited,” Bullard said. “We were really happy to be able to stay here.”

Permanent plans on rebuilding or repairing West Lumberton Elementary are still in the works according to the school board.