School district forcing kids impacted by house fire to switch schools
Chwalowski family's home burned in February
Last Updated: 222 days ago
SAN DIEGO -
A family forced from their home after a fire is now fighting a local school district's decision regarding their children.
In February, the Chwalowskis' Carmel Valley home was badly damaged after a fire broke out in one of the bedrooms.
Now, the family told 10News the Solana Beach School District is forcing their children to leave their friends and teachers even though they still live within the district.
Kaitlin Chwalowski is a fourth-grader at Solana Highlands Elementary School, but may now be forced to leave it.
"I think it's a great school," she told 10News.
Kaitlin's mother, Shirly Chwalowski, showed 10News the letter the district just sent. She said, "They wanted them to be out of the school within two days."
Kaitlin has been at Solana Highlands and her older brother has attended Solana Pacific Elementary School for years.
However, the school district learned the family no longer lives in the home that feeds into those schools.
The February fire forced the family to move into a rental property they own across town -- a home still within the Solana Beach School District.
The family asked for an exception, but Shirly Chwalowski said, "They said, absolutely not, that they have very strict rules … rules that apply to every single person and there is no way that they will bend from those rules at all, not even with any turmoil in the family."
In addition to the fire, Chwalowski and her husband are divorcing. Chwalowski's husband also lost his job.
"My kids do not want to change schools. They have made friends since kindergarten and that is one stability that they have," said Chwalowski.
During 10News' interview with Chwalowski Monday afternoon, the principal of Solana Pacific contacted her when he learned Chwalowski was talking to 10News for a story airing Monday evening.
According to Chwalowski, the principal told her he would let her son stay at Solana Pacific if she refused to participate in the interview. Chwalowski said she would not allow 10News to interview her son.
Kaitlin's future at Solana Highlands remains up in the air.
"It would be really hard because sometimes, for me, when I go to school, it would be like the first day and it's hard for me to like make new friends," Kaitlin told 10News.
10News contacted the Solana Beach School District for comment, but have not heard back as of Monday evening.
The Chwalowskis' home will be completely repaired in the next couple of weeks, so they may be forced to move back in.
The family told 10News they would rather rent out the home since it would be a financial hardship.
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