/Mound Bayou high school can close, state Supreme Court says

Mound Bayou high school can close, state Supreme Court says

Nonprofit Mississippi News CLEVLAND — Football players at John F. Kennedy Memorial high school in Mound Bayou were informed two days before the start of school that the team for which they had spent the summer training would not be there. “Football practice ended when I did that. Maurice Smith, North Bolivar Consolidated Schools District superintendent, said that he went to meet with the kids because he felt they needed to hear from him and not the news. Smith said that the students responded in the same way as anyone would expect. Smith stated, “They were disappointed.” Smith said that his announcement was made after the Mississippi State Supreme Court had filed an order on August 14, stating that high school could be closed. The first day of school was set for August 16. Eulah Peterson (mayor of Mound Bayou) said, “I believe it’s an extremely egregious act.” These children are not in the minds of anyone. “Nobody cares about these children. If you tell me that you care about children, and then you make a decision two-days before their school starts that disrupts their entire program, you aren’t caring about children.” This court’s ruling comes after months of struggle by Mound Bayou residents to keep the school open. The North Bolivar Consolidated District school Board voted 3-2 in January to approve a plan which would see the closing of Mound Bayou’s high school and the relocation of all Shelby high school students. The district would lose a Shelby middle school, which would reduce its number from five to three. Smith pointed out that the district had to cut down on its number of schools due to declining enrollment, funding and teacher certifications. Mound Bayou stakeholders opposed the decision. They claimed that not enough community input was sought on the front end. There are other paths that can save the district money and preserve the high school. They claimed that closing the high school would remove a key piece of African-American history. The school district has been at war with Mound Bayou residents ever since. The dispute began with a petition by Mound Bayou residents urging Chancery Judge W.M. to stop the school consolidations. Sanders to stop school consolidations led to three days worth of testimony and arguments in three Delta towns. The injunction was filed by Mound Bayou residents imploring Chancery Judge W.M. Gil Thompson, a Mound Bayou community organizer, indicated that this might not be the final step for stakeholders. “We are still trying to figure out how we will do it. He said that Friday’s press conference will be held. Smith stated that even though “there are a lot people trying to create division… [it] is time for healing, and moving forward.”