Richmond students protest school closures

December 19, 2008 12:12:25 PM PST
Hundreds of students are being bused back to school but not before they walked out of class to stage a noisy protest at school district headquarters.

The students walked to district offices to confront administrators about plans to close their school as part of a deficit cutting effort.

In all it's about 13 schools. The principal of Kennedy High School said that when she arrived at the school on Friday morning, the kids were already outside determined to march to the district, and that's exactly what they did.

They walked about one mile to protest the possible closure of their school. The school has more than 900 students, and the district said that number is just too low, so they are thinking of consolidating this school at Richmond High School.

The district came up with two scenarios. There are two lists of possible school closures, and at the end they will pick one list, which will have eight schools. Those are the schools that will close.

The problem is that Kennedy High School is on both lists.

"Why is Kennedy on both scenarios? Kennedy shouldn't be on both, maybe one but not both. And on top of that do you care about your community? You are supposed to make schools safer for kids and you are supposed to care about the child's education," said Kennedy High School student Clark Jones. "If a child is going to school, scared that somebody is going to do something to them, they are not going to come to school. That means more kids dropping out, and we already have a high dropout rate, not at Kennedy but in the school district."

The high school dropout rate according to the district is 35 percent. The reason they are closing schools in Richmond is the huge budget deficit the district has. Closing eight schools will save them about $3.5 million the first two years.


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