Longest Government Shutdown Ends

Students share how they were affected by the government shutdown.

Carly Herbert, Editor-in-Chief

The longest government shutdown in American history comes to a close after Congress and the President spent 35 days struggling to reach an agreement on a proposed spending bill.

Hundreds of thousands of government workers had to take unpaid leave for weeks. With Virginia ranked as one of the top five states that is most affected by the shutdown, the effects have managed to seep into the suburbs of Fauquier County. Students at Kettle Run have parents who’ve been furloughed by the federal government.

“It’s been quite a struggle for my family,” said one junior. “Although my parents are considered ‘essential
personnel’ and must go back to work, we won’t see the money until the shutdown is over.”

The same junior said she struggled coming up with gas money to make it to and from school.

“Although I have other resources to go get to places, I hate asking people for favors,” the student said. “Even though I am still able to survive, my heart goes out to those who have to make life threatening calls for their well-being.”

This junior was brought to tears when she was presented with money that a few of her teachers pooled together to help her pay for gas.

Junior Gillian Sueter added that it’s times like these that make people realize what is truly essential. She was forced to make some changes.

“We have had to stop spending money on luxuries such as shopping, nails, hair, or unnecessary food items such as coffee or desserts,” Sueter said.

Being a government employee, senior Matt Jawan’s family has money set aside for times like this.

“It hasn’t affected too much,” Jawan said. “We haven’t gone out to eat a lot recently, lots of staying in, and trying not to spend money on unnecessary things.”

Sue Harmon, counselor, offered some help for the students who were impacted. “We have been able to offer food to supplement what they have at home, school supplies at the beginning of the term, and financial assistance to some who signed up for dual enrollment,” Harmon said.

The financial situation these families had to endure motivated many young adults to take action.

“I plan on going to Senator Kaine’s office to explain from a child’s point of view how this lengthy shutdown affects us academically, in addition to our wellbeing,” one junior said. “I also plan on writing several letters to representatives and Senators on how the lack of compromise or even discussion is harming the citizens of their nation and the people who elected them to office.”

Sueter did not take any affirmative action but said she was vocal about her situation.

“I do voice my opinions and try and spread awareness through conversations about how devastating this has been to millions of families across the nation,” Sueter said. “My mom has written to legislators complaining about how many people are going to go bankrupt, yet the politicians and legislators continue to get paid their six figure salaries.”

On Jan. 19 the Senate passed a bill that assured furloughed workers they would receive pay for the time they were out. They are all working to get their lives back on track.