• Family: St. Johns County schools turned kids away on first day of classes

    By: Action News Jax


    Christine Langel, her husband Russ and their three kids live in Bartram Park, but not on the St. Johns County side.

    The Langels say they were forced to move to Duval County during the 2016-17 school year because of mold issues in their St. Johns County home.

    And everything was fine. 

    “They put us in some program where you can continue school,” Russ Langel said.

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    Action News Jax called the St. Johns County school district. Officials said their enrollment was only valid for the 2016-17 school year.

    This year, the Langels’ youngest son was registered at Fruit Cove Middle. Their two oldest children were registered to go to Creekside High.

    The three Langel kids went to school on Thursday — the first day of school in St. Johns County — but were sent home because of a residency issue.

    “In the call, she stated, ‘You need to come pick up your kids. They’re no longer students here,'” Christine Langel said.

    “I don’t know if my friends could tell, but I was confused about what was happening,” said Connor Langel, who was to be a sixth-grader at Fruit Cove Middle.

    The family even paid fees for their son Matthew to participate in football conditioning over the summer at Creekside High.

    The school district says the family received an online survey in April to verify their status with St. Johns County. That survey was never returned, the district said.

    The family said they did have a problem registering their address online for this school year, but thought it wasn’t an issue after they took their information straight to the schools.

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    “I called Creekside High and I said, ‘I have this issue logging in,’” Christine Langel said. “She said, ‘Do you rent? You have to bring in your new lease.'"

    Their new address was even printed on their son’s schedule, the Langels said.

    “They can’t go back to St. Johns School district unless we move back into the district,” said Russ Langel.

    The family said they want to know why the district waited until the first day of school to notify them of a residency issue.

    Action News Jax spoke with the school district multiple times to get answers for the family. School officials said they’re sorry the communication didn’t take place earlier, but they have to follow policy and the kids cannot come back to school until they move back to St. Johns County.

    Matthew shouldn’t have been allowed to participate in summer workouts at Creekside, the school district said.

    The family said they don't know what the next step was. They could be forced to home-school the kids, or they could enroll their children in Duval County, but the family said they are trying to move back to St. Johns County.

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