Crouched over a Northside Independent School District enrollment application, Lori Bailey, a 29-year-old mother of three, hesitated.

Her hand hovered over the word “homeless” as she considered the words and images associated with it. Then she checked the box.

“That was a big shocker,” Bailey said. “That’s when it really hit me.”

She and her husband, their three children, as well as her mother and 12-year-old stepsister, fled to San Antonio from the Refugio County town of Woodsboro when Hurricane Harvey hit just a little over a month ago.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency set them up in hotel rooms on the Northwest Side, and Bailey’s three kids and her stepsister all enrolled in Northside ISD schools.

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As of Monday, the district counted 84 student evacuees displaced by the storm. Harvey’s aftermath brought more than 250 new students to school districts in Bexar County, most of them in Northside and in North East ISD, which tallied 64.

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Where evacuated students are going

Students displaced by Hurricane Harvey enrolled in area schools as of Monday:

Northside ISD: 84

North East ISD: 64

San Antonio ISD: 33

Judson ISD: 27

Alamo Heights ISD: 15

Southwest ISD: 11

Harlandale ISD: 10

East Central ISD: 10

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD: 9

Southside ISD: 8

Edgewood ISD: 5

South San ISD: 2

The Baileys never imagined that they would ever be homeless. But they also never imagined that nature could treat them so harshly. They knew Harvey would be bad, but it was hard to fathom life changing so drastically from one day to the next, Bailey said.

One of their porch supports was ripped from the ground, and their roof hangs at a slant, threatening to collapse. Shingles are scattered on their yard. Mold and water damage have warped interior walls and ruined their belongings. It’s a distorted version of a home.

Bailey’s stepsister, Dakota Ramirez, said she was having trouble adjusting to her new life.

“I just want to go back to my old school. I miss my friends, I miss my teachers. I miss our home,” she said.

Stevenson Middle School, which Dakota is currently attending, is much bigger than her school in Woodsboro, a town of about 1,500 people. She’s not used to school bells or navigating a hallway so crowded that she said she has to push her way around. She also said people know she’s a “Harvey kid.”

“So, we’re the Harveys,” Bailey said.

But overall, the school has treated their children well, Bailey and Dakota’s mom, Marta Moody, agreed. They were given free school supplies, even some toys, and a school counselor talks to each of them once a week, just to check in.

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“She’s really nice,” said Adriel Bailey, 11.

Interruptions to education are one of many stresses facing evacuees. FEMA granted a state request to extend a deadline for its Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, which pays for hotel stays for those displaced by Harvey, so families that qualify have until Oct. 10 to find another shelter.

“There are kids that are going to need some supports to go through the trauma they went through, and they’re absolutely entitled to those,” said Rachel Gandy, a policy fellow for Disability Rights Texas. “We also know that getting those supports quicker than later can make a big impact.”

The organization has been trying to inform displaced families about the rights their kids have in their new schools. They include free transportation, the agency said, and kids with special needs should receive the same services they were receiving before — even if the family doesn’t have a physical copy of their individualized education plan, or IEP, papers.

“It’s a really scary thing for a child, whether they have disabilities or not, to see their house flooded and not be able to go home, and then go to a new school and be labeled as the ‘Harvey family,’” Gandy said.

Kim Teall hasn’t described to her three adopted sons the extent of damage in their Aransas Pass home. She hasn’t showed them the photos of the collapsed kitchen ceiling, the sagging roof and mold that has infiltrated every room. Or the playground they enjoyed “in slivers,” the basketball court in ruins.

“They don’t believe that anything happened. They think their beds are still there. They think I’m lying when I try to tell them,” Teall said at her daughter’s home in San Antonio last week.

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And to think that one week before Harvey barreled across their island town at the entrance to Corpus Christi Bay, she was trying to sell the place.

“I put the sign behind the couch because I thought, ‘I’ll leave, and then I’ll come back like any other day,’” Teall said.

Her sons were enrolled at Northside until last week, when she had to pull them out because her brother could no longer drive them to school while Teall was back in Aransas Pass, assessing damage and rescuing what she could from the wreckage. She is watching to see if Aransas Pass reopens its schools this fall, but the family might just regroup in San Antonio.

Their lives, in other words, are in total flux. Teall said she worries about the effect the storm could have on the mental well-being of her boys — she and her husband divorced just three months before Harvey hit. Before her sons were adopted, they were in foster care. She’s concerned about Robert Teall, her littlest, who is 4.

“So much of our lives have disappeared already,” Teall said. “Rob is afraid I’ll disappear and not come back. So I just try to do the best we can.”

Disability Rights Texas has links on its webpage providing resources to parents, everything from finding sensory shelters for autistic kids to the criteria for qualifying for the McKinny-Vento Homeless Act.

Lori Bailey found a rent house in Northside ISD that her family likes, and they’re moving in this week. They won’t be going back to Woodsboro.

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“It was a horrible experience, to have damage to the extent we did — it was unreal,” Bailey said.

“I’m in the process of getting over it,” Dakota said of the storm. “But I’m excited for the new journey.”

sfosterfrau@express-news.net