Students Rally to Keep O.L. Slaton Open - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/30/05

Students Rally to Keep O.L. Slaton Open

"Look at these kids. They are crying out with their hearts saying please don't close our schools, and yet they're constantly closing schools," said Pastor J. Jerome Johnson. He is against closing the school and showed his support Friday morning.

O.L. Slaton Junior High School is on the chopping block. Now students are coming to the rescue with "SOS" messages in hand. "Save our School," one sign read.

Tara Viswanathan went to O.L. for three years. She is now a 10th grader at Lubbock High School. "All of use were so sad when we heard it was closing. Even though we don't go there any more, it is still a part of us," said Tara.

"It is a great school. I drive an hour to get to this school every day. It is just so great," said 9th grader Kathryn Peterson.

School board members will vote in October if O.L., also a magnet school with higher standards, will be turned into an Arts, Broadcasting and Career Center, or the ABC Center.

At least 100 students rallied to keep their school open. They held these signs that said "L.I.S.D. has empty buildings, use those." And "It's about the kids, not the money."

"They are emotional about it, I understand that," said Nancy Sharp, L.I.S.D. Spokeswoman. She says the district is looking at the school's closure for the best interest of the entire district. She says O.L. was picked because it is next door to an existing vocational building, the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Building.

Some parents are even accusing the district of re-segregation. Sharp says that is absolutely false.

P.T.A. president Kim Kennedy hopes to satisfy her concerns at a public hearing. However, she is not so convinced this rally, or even a chance to speak, will make a difference. "From past experience, when a school board makes a proposal to close a school, it is a done deal," she said.

A public hearing is scheduled on this issue for October 11th at 6 p.m. at the LISD Administration Building.

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