A redistricting plan in Jefferson Parish is creating a heated debate among parents. The district wants to move students from 5 elementary schools to a building in West Metairie opening this Fall. Some don’t want their children moved while others say racism is playing a role in their reluctance.
The Jefferson Parish school board meeting was filled with emotional arguments from both sides tonight. The district has proposed moving students from five different schools into Ralph J. Bunche elementary school, set to reopen this year. It's a plan that's met with resentment from many families living outside that neighborhood in West Metairie. These families say it's all about what's best for their children.
"Change isn't always welcomed from kids. They don't adapt well,” Tania Sander said.
"Thrown into a new community, that's not their neighborhood that's not what their familiar with. I think it would be hard for them,” Nicole Carr added.
But those living near Bunche elementary think there's something else going on.
"Many of these people may feel frightened so to speak to come to my neighborhood. But it's a very good neighborhood,” one resident told the school board.
Some families acknowledged the area around Bunche elementary, not far from Airline Highway, did make them apprehensive.
"The environment is not one that I want to deal with on the daily,” Sander said.
One mother says the change could be a step backwards, by creating a new school that is predominantly African American.
"The makeup of the school is concerning to me. Diversity in my opinion is extremely important especially in elementary school age children where most of their thoughts about individuals of different color are formed,” Anundra Martin said.
Now it's up to the school board to decide whether to stick with the status quo or make the change.