HOUSTON—Activists with the NAACP, along with other black leaders, assembled Thursday across the street from Ryan Middle school, drawing what they called a line in the sand against the Houston Independent School District.
“Why remove students from their neighborhood in order for those students to get a quality education,” asked James Douglas, an attorney with the civil rights organization.
The people protesting oppose HISD’s plans to close Ryan and transfer students to Cullen Middle School. They also oppose the district’s plans to consolidate Jones High School with Sterling.
“It sends a message that the children in these communities cannot get a quality education in their own communities,” said NAACP president Rev. Reginald Lillie. “They’re having to get up early in the morning, travel across town. It creates a problem for them.”
But according HISD’S chief of high schools, merging the campuses will help improve education for the students involved. Orlando Riddick said the schools are under populated now, and a higher head count would lead to more funding and better programs.
“Creating a consolidation helps create choice,” said Riddick. “It helps create options that are afforded to every kid across the district.”
But opponents weren’t convinced, and planned to speak out at a school board meeting in advance of a final vote on the consolidation plan scheduled for Thursday evening.
“We’re saying we’re no longer going to accept it,” said Lillie.