AMITE, La. -- The future classrooms of 2,000 school children are in question in Tangipahoa Parish after the school board decided Thursday to ask for a change to its decades-old federal desegregation order.
The plan modification suggests re-drawing attendance zones to achieve better racial balance. It removes the current order's requirement to spend more than $50 million to build new schools, but in its place, would require thousands of students to switch schools.
There was no shortage of emotions following the vote.. an indicator the issue remains contentious.
"I've done had to move my kid from a school when she was in first grade and I had to hear her cry for four months about how she missed her friends, and I don't want to have to force her to do that again," said Amanda Brown, a mother of two from Loranger.
"This new plan will hopefully continue those rigorous academic standards and also by changing the school districts, it will allow integration, which we should have done 50 years ago," said Amy Brumfield, mother of three from Hammond.
School Board Member Brett Duncan, who helped develop the plan, said, "It means that at least the majority of the parish is ready to move forward, to move in the right direction."
"I think we sent a proposal to the judge that does not include the concerns of all the citizenry of the parish," said Eric Dangerfield, a board member who voted against the plan.
If a federal judge approves this modified plan, school board members say they will reach out the make amends with the communities unhappy today.
"I myself was a child that was moved from school to school back in the '80s because of this desegregation plan, so in this plan we have put things in there that will give these families multiple options other than just the one they are initially zoned to," said Duncan
The modified plan will be sent to a federal judge in New Orleans in the next few days for consideration. There is no deadline for the judge to respond.