Sunday, February 06, 2011

A Student's View: How Not to Close a School

From: "Portside Moderator" <moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG>

Date: Thu, February 3, 2011 9:18 pm



A Student's View: How Not to Close a School

by Melissa Kissoon

January 31, 2011

I was victim of a high school phase out. Do you know what

it's like to have four new schools come into your school


The first year after the Department of Education announced

that my school, Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn,

would be closed, we weren't allowed to set foot on the

fourth floor anymore. The next year, the DOE split the rest

of the floors in halves. So, if your classroom was around

the corner, you could no longer just walk over to your room.

You'd have to go upstairs and around and back down stairs to

make it to your class. As a result of this, many students

were late for their classes. Students missed class time and

got in trouble because our school was chopped up and our

building was divided!

The great teachers we once loved either switched to the

other schools in the building or left. There is no longer a

library in the building, because Lane doesn't have enough

money for a library and the other four schools have small

budgets. Students with essays due and no printer or computer

can't print - then they struggle to figure out how to pass

their class.

Almost all the after school activities belong to the other

schools, including the sports and the ROTC. Two of my

friends are in their last year at Lane. One of them is only

taking one academic class. He scored well on his SAT and is

applying to Brown University but there are no Advanced

Placement classes for him to take and he is done with school

every day at noon. My other friend was told last year that

he had enough credits to graduate. He was 16, a junior and

not ready for college. There is a difference between having

enough credits to graduate, getting a rigorous education,

and being prepared for college.

The phase out has failed us all, hundreds of us in Brooklyn

and thousands of us in New York City. I was a cheerleader,

so school pride was important to me. There is no longer

school pride, there is no encouragement, there are no

familiar teachers, there are no resources to help us pass.

All that remains is a push, a push out of the school by any

means possible.

I graduated and I'm in college now, at City Tech. But I look

back at the last four years of my life and I feel robbed of

my high school experience. My school was no longer MY

school; I was basically being kicked out of a school that

made a promise to support me and give me all I need to pass.

If the Department of Education is truly committed to

students, they must include us in decisions about OUR


[Melissa Kissoon is an 18-year-old graduate of Brooklyn's

Franklin K. Lane High School, which will close this year.

The school began to "phase-out" to make way for new small

schools while she was a junior. She is a youth leader with

Future of Tomorrow and the Urban Youth Collaborative. This

blog post was adapted from the website.]


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