Recently, I was invited to attend a Black History observance program at Dougherty Middle School. I was impressed by the examples of unity and respect exhibited by the students, faculty and staff at the school. It was truly a game-changing moment for me.
The impending discussions about school closures in the area due to low attendance will mean that these children’s lives of which I sat among during the program will ultimately be changed forever. I thought about how it was when I grew up. School was within walking distance from home and high school only a few blocks away. Location of school was the reason why my parents chose to buy our family home where they did.
I will, and do, support the School Board’s decision and final determination on the matter. I am only asking that equal consideration be given to the children who may find themselves boarding a bus across town or traveling several miles away from home to get their education. Not to mention parents, care providers, staff or faculty that will have to juggle their lives as well.
There is always a trade-off: kids on buses extra hours each week, schools extending hours to accommodate student arrivals/departures, staffing changes or replacements. Wonder what the cost of gas will be to fill those buses traveling those additional miles?
In the 4th-poorest city in the nation, and now according to researchers at the University of Vermont, “a city filled with more sad people per capita than almost any other city in the country,” I implore our leaders to dig deeper, consider human hardships and avoid counting beans in order to reach the bottom line. There is always more than meets the eye, and it is never too late to change the game.