A viral video of Puerto Rican school-aged children jumping for joy about what should be standard in any learning environment truly puts the situation on the island in perspective.
The students at Academia Bautista de Puerto Nuevo (ABPN), a private school in San Juan, recently got their power back after 112 days. A short video posted on the school’s Facebook page features students and teachers alike jumping around and cheering.
“After 112 days, THE POWER IS BACK!!” reads the caption. “Undisputed joy from all of us who make up ABPN. We thank all of the parents, students, and staff who have stayed and continued to support us throughout this situation.”
Hurricane Maria slammed into the island on September 20, 2017, and devastated the majority of the island and left it without power. About 40 percent of the island is still without power, and it shows even in the comment section of the video where a mother voices her frustration.
“At least my son will be able to take classes with the lights,” one commenter wrote. “Our house still has no electricity. I hope that you don’t give him homework, as doing it in the dark would be very frustrating for him.”
It’s also important to remember that Academia Bautista de Puerto Nuevo is a private school. There are public schools in Rio Grande such as Liberata Iraldo middle school and Pedro Falu Orellano High School that are not holding classes because they are being used as shelters for people who lost their homes in the storm. As a result, nearly 500 students were relocated from the middle school alone.
Additionally, as of late November, more than 7,900 students from Puerto Rico and other hard-hit islands have enrolled in Florida public schools. So while electricity in this school is absolutely something to celebrate, there is so much more work to do in Puerto Rico that is not being explored by mainstream U.S. media.