After Raid, Fewer Students in Cactus Schools

More fallout tonight from a massive illegal immigration raid in Cactus.

It was early last month when immigration and customs agents rounded up nearly 300 workers at the Swift meat packing plant.

The people were taken into custody under suspicion of working illegally or using stolen identities.

Tonight, Cactus is still feeling the impact of the bust-- from businesses right down to the schools.

That's where NewsChannel 10's Blaire Arvin picks up this story.

She has more on how the schools are struggling in the wake of the raid.

Classes within the Dumas Independent School District have resumed after the winter break but enrollment is down after the raid, especially at Cactus Elementary.

"It's a great loss to our community and our student body," says Carla Tafoya, Principal at Cactus Elementary.

One month later, classes are a little more bare at each school in the district.

In all 30 students have been withdrawn...

Here at Cactus, 14 students aren't returning with the start of this new year.

7 of those are a direct result of the raid and just to give you an idea of the impact its had here that's enough students to fill an entire table.

Empty seats... empty hearts.

Its hit everyone hard.

"When you've worked with children everyday and they're not here any longer it's difficult."

Terri Davis works directly with the kids... teaching reading and writing.

She's helped the kids release their emotions simply with paper and a pen.

"Some of them have actually expressed their feelings through writing," says Terri Davis, the Literacy Coordinator.

One first grader struggling with the absence of her friend did just that.

"I am bored, so bored I don't have nobody to play with my friend moved. She will never come back. But now I made a new friend she is fun."

The students, the staff bouncing back, building new friendships and entering a new year with hope.

But not without thinking of the students who had no choice but to leave.

School officials say they wish the best for those 30 students who are no longer in the district. They tell us they don't anticipate any more changes in enrollment as a result of the bust.