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Children Of Immigrants Living "In The Shadows Of The Slaughterhouse"

Abbie Fentress Swanson | Harvest Public Media
At the primary school in rural Noel, Mo., teachers and staff function as educators about as often as they do de facto social workers.

Fronteras: How the Clark County School District, one of the nation's biggest school districts in Nevada, is scrambling to make space for students. The growth of meat packing plants in the rural Midwest has created an unforeseen challenge -- children in need of food, housing and education. The series "In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse" looks into the lives of immigrant families in the meat-packing industry.

Las Vegas School District Scrambles To Make Space For More Students

This year, Nevada’s Clark County School District once again faced record enrollment numbers. It is one of the biggest and fastest-growing school districts in the country. The district added more than 3,000 new students this year, as well as a new program to boost English Language Learners.

To cope with their growing pains, the district has put more and more children into portable classrooms. From our Fronteras Desk in Las Vegas, Kate Sheehy reports.

Noel, Mo. Schools Build Safety Net For Immigrant Children

For centuries, immigrants in search of a better life have settled in America’s largest cities. Now, thanks in part to the meat packing industry, small, rural towns have become a key frontier for new arrivals. These small towns, however, struggle to provide the social services needed by such a diverse population, a population largely invisible to most Americans.

In this first of three reports on children living "In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse," Abbie Fentress Swanson of Harvest Public Media visits two schools in Noel, Missouri -- population 1,832 -- that are struggling to provide much more than instruction.

Garden City: Tending to a Cultural Crossroads

In the second of Harvest Public Media’s series “In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse,” Peggy Lowe reports from Garden City, Kansas where city leaders have built a strong grassroots network that has embraced their town’s cultural change and its youngest citizens

Dreaming Beyond the Slaughterhouse

Some of these children of immigrants working in the meat packing industry are hoping to achieve the American Dream –- to go on to college and to get jobs outside that industry. Peggy Lowe and Abbie Fentress Swanson have this final report in this series from Harvest Public Media.

*This project was reported with assistance from the Institute for Justice & Journalism’s Immigration in the Heartland.

Crystal Chavez was Texas Public Radio’s Morning Edition host for three years, until January 2015.