It's been a crazy 10 days. We have attended 3 separate meetings attempting to convince our school board that the elementary school in our neighborhood needs to stay open. Last night, after 11:30pm, the board voted to close some schools, but to save our school and 2 others. What a long, hard fight it has been and it's such a relief that it paid off in the end.
Our school is in the very middle of the neighborhood. Students walk to school in a neighborhood where some parents don't even have a car. The school has been there over 50 years and is the cornerstone of our Peoplestown community. The plan was to close the school and bus our kids between 2 other schools that are not walkable. Not only would this be difficult on the children and their families but it would destroy the neighborhood. Obviously I don't have kids but this was a very important decision.
Last night we attended the Atlanta Public Schools board meeting, us and 500 other concerned residents from around the city. The meeting started late, 45 min late, and over 70 people had signed up to speak. Each person was given 3 minutes. If you do the math, that's 3 and a half hours of speakers if everything goes smoothly and on time. Of course it didn't and at 9:15 I had to leave and head home. Stephen stayed to represent our house.
When it comes to children of course there is going to be heightened emotions. Some people who spoke cried, some yelled, some threatened the school board members. One guy even got arrested when he got on stage to approach the board. I don't understand these people. There were a couple people who yelled and screamed and talked a lot about fighting for our rights. Come on people - violence and treats aren't going to get us anywhere. After a couple outbursts I was certain we'd be closed. One gentlemen even talked about this decision leading to Atlanta seceding from the nation. Really, sir? I understand that a school closing is a terrible idea, that's why I'm sitting in the auditorium with you, but for it to get that far fetched, it only discounts any good point you may have made.
In the end the board had a very, very difficult decision to make and I'm beyond relieved that DH Stanton is staying open.
APS made a good decision.