Published: Sunday, April 29, 2012
Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2012 14:04
At about 10 a.m. every day, the Castleton State College Campus Center is packed with students buying and eating breakfast. You hear the sound of students chatting over coffee and muffins and you see people finishing up last-minute homework or studying.
And then there’s the baby screaming bloody-murder in the background.
While some might say college is no place for little children, some parents attending school have no other choice than to bring their kids with them.
Senior Rachel Newton is one of these students and with just a couple weeks until graduation, she does what she has to do.
“She’s sick today so I had to bring her with me. I bring her to most classes and the teachers are all really supportive, but she can be a little disruptive at times,” said Newton, mother of 5-month-old, Naomi.
Other students with children may not bring them to school with them, but they talk at length about the struggles of being a parent and student.
Junior Donald Bushee, father of six, says he frequently runs into many multi-tasking problems raising his family and attending school.
“Scheduling is the number one difficulty. Juggling the responsibility of making sure they get everything they need and I fill my requirements,” said Bushee.
Senior,Dawn Kendall, mother of three, says she can relate.
“My day starts at 4:30 a.m. I get things ready for their school and mine then I pick them up after my classes. Once they are in bed, I clean the house. Typically it’s about 10 p.m. before I can start my homework,” said Kendall.
In addition, many parent-students have to work during the week to support their families, making schedules insane.
“I also work 35 hours a week. My Friday class goes till one and then I work 3 to 11. My daughter watches my son when I am not home,” said junior Elishia Fletcher.
Some, like Fletcher, wonder why the college doesn’t offer some kind of daycare program. Most said it would be a huge help to them.
“If the college offered a day-care, I would take advantage of it,” said Jessica Eynon, mother of three children and a stepson.
Fletcher agrees, saying it would be nice to be able to see her 6-year-old son in between classes.
Expecting mother, Anna Lacey said one of the things she is most concerned about is finding someone to watch the baby while she continues her education at Castleton.
“The college could absolutely benefit from a day-care. I know there are many people who have kids that go to college and it’s a struggle to find a consistent babysitter for all their classes,” said Lacey.
They also said a day-care program would offer a lot more to the school than just a service for parents attending classes.
“Day-care would serve a lot of purposes, not only to students with kids, but students who do education and human services. I personally get help through the state for day-care but it would’ve been more helpful to have one on campus,” said Kendall.
Castleton officials like Wellness Center Director Martha Coulter, agree that a daycare would be helpful.
“If we had an early childhood program it would be a great for internships. We could invite people with children to attend college if we had those kinds of facilities to offer,” Coulter said. “However we can encourage people to come back to school or stay in school is a positive thing.”
But Coulter said such a program would be costly and she said no effort to start such a program has been made, meaning at least for the near future, students may be sharing classrooms and common areas with very little people.