President Donald Trump’s family will reunite in Washington DC by September of this year, with the announcement his youngest son Barron has been enrolled in a private school in the greater metropolitan area.
The 11-year-old Barron and his mother, Melania Trump, the first lady, have been living in Trump Tower in New York City so that Barron could finish out the academic year at his Manhattan private school. Melania Trump has expressed reservations about bringing Barron closer to the Washington spotlight. In an interview with Bloomberg News this month, Donald Trump said that his wife and youngest son still planned to join him in Washington.
Melania Trump confirmed the decision on Monday in the US.
“We are very excited for our son to attend St Andrew’s Episcopal School,” she said in a statement. “It is known for its diverse community and commitment to academic excellence. The mission of St. Andrew’s is ‘to know and inspire each child in an inclusive community dedicated to exceptional teaching, learning, and service,’ all of which appealed to our family.”
The choice of St Andrew’s in suburban Montgomery County is a break from tradition for school-age children of the first family. Many presidential families, including the Obamas, Clintons, Nixons and Roosevelts, sent their children to the prestigious Sidwell Friends, a Quaker school in Washington. Jimmy Carter sent his daughter, Amy, to public school in the city.
The arrangement for Barron should provide much-needed relief to the law enforcement agencies that have grappled for months with the demands of protecting a first family regularly divided between two cities. The New York City police alone have spent an estimated $US127,000 to $US145,000 (between $171, 250 and $195, 520) a day since Trump took office to protect Barron and Melania Trump while in residence at Trump Tower, according to the department’s commissioner. The department did not reply to requests for comment about whether the relocation would lessen those costs.
For the Secret Service, the reunion at the White House would considerably simplify the demands and strategy for protecting the first family. The agency’s New York City field office, which typically shoulders a large criminal and investigative workload as well, has been heavily strained by the present arrangement. And the unusually high number of New York-based Trumps in need of protection has required agents from across the country to set aside criminal investigations to fly to the city for two-week protection stints.
St. Andrew’s, a coed preparatory school, is around 32 kilometres from the White House. It has around 580 students in preschool through Year 12. The school has class sizes of no more than 15, seven students for each teacher, and a 19-acre “picturesque campus.”
Tuition is $US40,650 (around $55, 000) for high school, plus a host of fees.
The school’s demographic makeup is 40 per cent students of colour and international students. All of its graduates typically go to college.
“St Andrew’s programs are designed to serve students of varied interests and abilities capable of achievement in a challenging academic environment,” according to its mission statement.
And despite the school’s religious affiliation, it proclaims that “it does not mean that we want to ‘make Episcopalians’ out of our students.” The school’s student body is 18 per cent Catholic, 16 per cent Episcopalian, 23 per cent “other Christian Denominations,” 10 per cent Jewish and 1 per cent Muslim.
“The perspective of the Episcopal Church includes respect for other religious traditions and even for those periods of life when a person is not identified with a particular tradition,” the school’s website says, adding that it feels “little compulsion to ‘defend God’ or traditional theological expressions.”
It was unclear when Melania Trump and Barron would move to Washington, but the school year at St. Andrew’s begins September 5.
The New York Times