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My son’s school Burned down…

on February 25, 2013

To the Ground.

I’m not kidding. It’s not a metaphor—It’s real. It’s surreal.

Have you ever seen a playground on fire?  I still can’t get it out of my head.

Let me back up a bit: Alex, my autistic son, started 1st grade this year in a K-5 ALC Classroom. Kindergarten had brought so many trials, heartache and hard work – I was afraid of what was to come. But my worries were over quickly; this year he was matched up with the most wonderful folks I could ask for… I don’t even like to refer to them as “teachers,” because the word seems somehow inappropriate.

(I think maybe God personally addressed His angels in heaven and said “Look, y’all, Alex’s family has been THROUGH IT. They need some good folks to lead their boy through his first grade year…Volunteers?”…And 4 or 5 angels floated down to Earth to nurture one of their own.) I finally had peace when my son climbed onto his school bus each morning.

But then, on a Sunday morning in February, Alex’s school was in flames. Have you ever had to say those words out loud? It’s not easy. In an attempt to respond to many concerned loved ones, I posted this to Facebook…Take this journey with me; you may find the strength I never knew I had:

“My son’s school burned down to the ground today. An elementary school is just a building, yes. But the news that my son’s school had burnt down was incredibly painful. My son has special needs and will not understand. ALL 500 kids have to be moved, spread out to other schools in the area. I have been so afraid of what will happen to Alex’s classroom, his amazing teachers, his little friends, everything familiar to him. I have no words. 

Even as I wrote this, Alex’s teacher was calling.

We cried together. I had not considered how hard this would be on all those angels God sent down to that class…

STILL, there was beautiful news: That solid, brick, school building burnt down to the ground – yes – but Alex’s portable classroom, made out of plywood and all things flammable was, and remains to this day, untouched by the fire. The sprinkler system caused water damage, but the simple structure, which stood just a few feet from the destruction, remains untainted on the outside, a symbol of the strength and purity these kids reflect in Heaven’s eyes.

That little building may be waterlogged and ruined inside, but it didn’t matter to us. No, not everything will be salvageable, yet even one or two familiar items can help special needs kids feel more at home, more safe in their new environment. And so I rejoiced because that portable classroom still stands in defiance of the flames that took a school away from 500 children.

With tears of sadness mixed with newfound joy, his teacher then assured me that, whichever school hosted them, the district promised to keep the whole class together. ALL OF THEM.

Teachers, students, and Alex’s 1-to-1, they were all allowed to stay TOGETHER. You have no idea how much this means to me. These Special needs kids – MY special needs kid – have been given 2 miraculous gifts from God. I am so thankful. I cannot describe the lengths to which this reaches into my heart and reminds me that God is watching over *not* just their safety, but their WELL-BEING. It is as if He is reminding me that He understands their lifelong needs, even when I feel like the world doesn’t. God will make a way, even when there seems to be no way.”


Today, I am here to tell you that it has not been easy, and that, though the kids are handling everything like little champions (maybe better than the adults), they still do not understand…Alex remains thankfully, blissfully ignorant. Still, he misses his old school.


An Elementary School is in ashes. But Mrs. Hamilton still stands. Ms. Carolyn still stands. Alex and his little friends still stand. Love, laughter, friends, community…they all still stand. OUR. KIDS. STILL. STAND. They’ll never be able to fully replace that building. Thank God an Elementary school is not just a building.

Alex on his new swings

 Instead of posting a picture of the fire, I have chosen to post a happy picture of Alex on his new playground =)

( If you’d like to read more about the fire, you can go to this site: )


One response to “My son’s school Burned down…

  1. Audrey Black, Speech-Language Pathologist, Walla Walla, WA says:

    God is still in the business of miracles!

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