- Faith & Family
An ordinance proposed by the Miami-Dade County Public school board that calls to rezone students in public schools — of all grade levels — has outraged several local alumni associations who have now started a petition to shut down the committee’s new recommendations.
The Attendance Boundary Committee sent a notice out last week to nine elementary, middle and high schools informing faculty members about the possible changes. Students including those in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades from Allapattah Middle could be transferred to Miami Jackson Senior High School.
“We are the first inner-city school to earn an “A” and this is the thanks we get,” said Carol Whitehead-Sutton, president of Miami Jackson Generals Alumni Association. “Plans that look good on paper do not always work in reality and once the committee sees this is detrimental they shouldn’t do it.”
Sutton, who has prepared a petition to fight against the school board’s advisory, said merging middle school students with high school seniors tarnishes the ‘high school experience’ for the upper classmen.
“Seniors are asking, ‘do I have to ‘babysit’ now’?” This diminishes the high school experience for seniors who have earned their right to be here,” said Sutton, who has presided for more than a decade. “We believe that 6th, 7th and 8th graders are not prepared to cope with the presence of high school life and the presence of considerably more mature teenagers.”
Sutton’s colleagues, like Larry Williams of Miami Northwestern High School Alumni Association, have joined her in her efforts by supporting the petition.
“All of our alumni associations are very close and we always support each other on different issues,” said Williams, who added that merging schools without considering a students’ grade level can be dangerous.
“I don’t think this is a good idea — from a security perspective — to house kids that young with 19-year-olds,” he said. “I’m adamantly opposed to that recommendation because there is the possibility of bullying in that kind of environment and sexual problems.”
Sutton’s petition will be presented to community residents at a special town hall meeting at Miami Jackson Senior High School on May 9th at 7:15 p.m.
By Latoya Burgess
Miami Times writer