Duluth Schools See More Homeless Students in 2012

By KBJR News 1

December 14, 2012 Updated Oct 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM CDT

Duluth, (NNCNOW.com)-- More and more children in the Duluth public education system are classified as homeless, a problem that hurts students at home, and in the classroom.

Jasmin Bakken takes her studies seriously.

"School is very important to me," said Bakken. "For a long time books and homework was all I had."

But she's dealing with something that hinders some students from academic success.

"I'm living on my own because my home life wasn't really working."

Bakken says her mother's illnesses, and home evictions prompted to her to live at a homeless shelter.

School officials say it's something they are seeing with alarming frequency.

"That increase has been significant in our community," said Deborah Wagner, Families in Transition Coordinator with the Duluth School District.

In 2012, 88 percent more students are classified as homeless than in 2008.

"Many kids have difficulty with their studies because of lack of sleep, maybe dietary needs," said Wagner. "They're just not able to focus like they would like to."

Bakken says it's a problem she lives with everyday.

"For a lot of us, it hasn't been easy because we have difficult living situations."

But for her having goals and determination is the key to keeping homeless students on track.

"I know that if I can make it through the end of this year and go to college and get that good job that life will be better, and that's what's important to me," said Bakken.

Bakken is already working on her generals at Lake Superior College.

In the last year alone, homelessness among students in the Duluth School District has increased 21 percent.

Zach Vavricka

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