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Monday, March 18,2013

High school debate

Lansing Board of Education hears from supporters of Sexton and Eastern High Schools at Thursday meeting

by Alyssa Firth

Friday, Jan. 20 — Members of the Lansing Board of Education were seeing red when they looked out at the audience Thursday evening: members of the Save Our Sexton campaign wore red as a sign of unity in support of Sexton High School.


Supporters of both Sexton and Eastern High School attended the meeting. A crowd of over 100  included students, parents, teachers and alumni overflowed into the hallway.


“Whether your football uniform is crimson or golden, we’re in this together and we need to fix this district,” said Keith Kris, speaking on behalf of the Westside Neighborhood Association during the public comment time.


The decision whether to close Sexton or Eastern High School was not on the regular agenda, but SOS and Eastern supporters attended the meeting in the hope of persuading the board to postpone the decision until at least Jan. 31, 2013, by which time the district is expected to have hired a new superintendent to replace T.C. Wallace, who is set to leave June 30.


Michigan Radio reported that board President Myra Ford expects the board will make a decision on school closings by the end of the month. However, Wallace said it may be Feb. 2, when the board is scheduled to meet again.


During 30 minutes of public comment, Eastern sophomore August Stover suggested other options.

“Closing either high school is plainly not in the best interest for students in this district,” Stover said. “There are many other suggestions in the restructuring plan. I know because I helped to draft it. There are so many more ways to go about this than closing the school. I’m shocked they’re not being discussed tonight.”


Added Stover: “I love that so many community members came out to speak and that it wasn’t really Eastern versus Sexton, it was in favor of success for Lansing School District,” Stover said.


Bill Morris, a spokesman for SOS and a Sexton graduate, spoke about restoring “the glory” that Lansing Public Schools once had and maintaining the same level of education he once received.


“When I walked out of Lansing public schools, I was prepared,” Morris said. “When we were educated, this is what we were taught, and that’s what we want to do for all of (the current students) and everybody coming after.”


The SOS campaign has a petition available online at saveoursexton.weebly.com.
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