Parents and students protest school closures and consolidation - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Parents and students protest school closures and consolidation

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By Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

 LEAKE COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - Two schools, Edinburg and Thomastown Attendance Centers, were in an uproar Thursday.

"I believe you could take a bunch of third grade kids and they could run the school system better than the superintendent and the board members except for one," said Johnny Harris, a parent of Thomastown students.

At issue was the race of the students at the school.  Edinburg was predominately white and Thomastown's majority was black.  The U.S. Department of Justice determined that the Leake County schools have violated the 1969 Desegregation Order.  The school board decided the schools need to be shut down and the students moved to Carthage High.

"They think its going to be better for our kids.  We don't see how because they are going to put them in portable building that doesn't have restroom facilities.  In bad weather they won't be safe.  They're going to bus them half way across the county," said Denise Thornton.

It will also affect the teachers and staff, like Angela Adams who has two children at the Edinburg Attendance Center and has taught there for 18 years. "I love everyone of them.  I don't have any favorites.  It's really emotional for me because its my life," said Adams.

School board members heard their opinions at Thursday's meeting, but did not discuss the issue further.  Supporters of the consolidation say it will help build up a school district that is failing.

"You have one school that is 88% white.  You have another school that is 99% black.  That's wrong.  So what we're going to do is consolidate the school district so we won't have that problem any more," said NAACP President for Leake County Daniel Battle Griffin, Jr.

The schools are scheduled to close in August.

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