Martin Park Students Return - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Martin Park Students Return

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ALEXANDRIA, La. -- It's back to school for students at Martin Park Elementary. On Tuesday, they learned all about the fire that destroyed their school and asked questions about the student accused of doing it.

News Channel Five's Brooke Buford (Twitter: @brookebuford) stopped by one class to talk with students and teachers about the first day back.

Fourth grader, Tyja Moton, had first day jitters heading back to class Tuesday.

"I had butterflies in my stomach because I couldn't wait to see what the new school looked like and find out what everything looked like," she said. 

Her new classroom is in the Lead Center because her old one at Martin Park Elementary burned Friday. The fire department says another student, who we have learned was a 12-year-old 5th grader, is accused of setting it on fire.

"I thought, oh my gosh, what was he thinking? Was he mad at a teacher?" Moton asked. "Or, was he just trying to make the sprinklers come on? Was it a little joke? Or did he just purposely do it?"

Tyja got to ask those questions to her teacher, Mrs. Hay. Mrs. Hay made a special lesson plan for the students about fire.

"Especially now that we know there was and arrest and everything, it makes it very difficult to teach them," said Michelle Hay, Tyja's teacher. "But, I always use it as a teachable moment to teach them life lesson about hanging out with people who are bad influences and how they need to make wise decisions."

Aside from answering students' questions, teachers and staff have been working around the clock to make the Lead Center feel like home for the kids.

"It has really been going smoothly. I would describe it just as any first day of the school year. It was just like a first day, it's exactly like a school environment. I think you could pretty much walk into any school and other than all the people working around us, it looks like school."

For now, this will be Taja's new classroom for the next few months while workers try to salvage what's left of her old one. She says she's going to make the best of the school year and hopes she'll be able to go back one day to the school she loved so much.

"I hope we go back once they clean it and everything," she said. "I hope it's before the year is done so I can see everything and know what it will be like the next year."

The fire at Martin Park is still under investigation. Once the case is wrapped up, it will be handed over to the district attorney's office.

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