HOUSTON— On a Saturday afternoon in northeast Houston, hundreds packed an auditorium at Forest Brook Middle School on Tidwell Road.
"We love North Forest," said student Chelbe Webb. "We are being properly educated by North Forest."
The gathering came less than a week after the Texas Education Agency notified the North Forest Independent School District on Tuesday that it will be closing the district in July of 2012.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee called the emergency meeting to discuss options with the community.
"That’s my simple quest today, to ensure that this district was treated fairly," said Jackson Lee. "As our research indicates, it seemingly has not."
The congresswoman believes the move is unfair, racist and hypocritical.
"Many people don’t realize the TEA has been in charge of this district for the past two years," Jackson Lee explained. "You can’t hold a new board accountable when the law says you have at least two years to become accountable."
This will mark the third consecutive year that the district has been rated academically unacceptable and the sixth consecutive year that the high school has been rated academically unacceptable.
NFISD and its North Forest High School campus are slated to again be rated academically unacceptable, the TEA said in a letter sent to the district. The rating is set to be released on August 1, 2011.
In addition, the district is set to earn a substandard financial accountability rating for the fourth consecutive year, the TEA said.
Willie Motley has taught in North Forest ISD for more than 30 years.
"We love our district and we are not going to just sit back and let them close us down like this," Motley said.
A petition is now circulating to stop the closing of NFISD.
District officials plan to appeal the TEA’s decision.