Community Members and HISD At Odds

Community activists and some parents are blasting HISD over the transfer of students from one middle school to another. The district moved students after concerns were raised about health hazards at Key Middle School. But now people are upset about the crowded conditions as a result of moving those children to nearby Fleming Middle School. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson has more.

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It took the Houston Independent School District several weeks to decide to move students out of Key Middle School after teachers and parents raised concerns about possible mold or air quality problems. That angered a lot of people and although students are now being bused to Fleming Middle School two miles away, some parents, including Ann Tillis, are still upset.

"Because it's overcrowded, we don't have the supplies we need and HISD had promised us that they would issue those type of supplies and they didn't."

Tillis kept her child home from school today in protest of the district's response to her concerns. Parents are complaining about the crowded conditions and poor facilities at Fleming Middle School.

"A situation like that is not ideal, when you have to transfer 600 kids to another school. But we worked very hard to make Fleming Middle School adequate and safe for the kids from Key Middle School."

That's HISD Spokesman Terry Abbott. He says teachers and administrators are doing all they can to help the kids through the transition.

"That's not to say everything has gone perfect, because it hasn't. But we've all worked hard, they've put extra space in there at the Key Middle School site at Fleming to make classrooms less crowded. And what we've asked is for parents to be patient with us while we try to do the very best that we can for their kids."

The district is adding 10 temporary classrooms to house Key students. Despite the assurances from HISD, activist Quanell X was calling on students to skip school in protest of the move to Fleming. He later called off that protest after HISD officials told parents their children could be ticketed for skipping school.

"Superintendent Saavedra did not meet with community leaders, did not meet with parents, did not meet with the PTA, did not meet with the teachers and administrators. He did not come to the community and say help us make this transition smoothly as possible since everyone will be adversely affected."

Quanell X says instead of asking students to skip school, he's calling on them and their parents to protest outside District Superintendent Abe Saavedra's house Friday afternoon. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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