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Photo: Brad Larrison for NewsWorks

Brad Larrison / NewsWorks

Northwest Philly reacts to school-closings proposal

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by staff at NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner

Northwest Philadelphia is home to six of the 37 schools that the School District has proposed to close by the end of the school year.

The schools slated to close include Germantown High School, Theodore Roosevelt Middle School and Robert Fulton Elementary, which are located in Germantown. Also on the list are John F. McCloskey and John L. Kinsey elementaries in West Oak Lane and Jay Cooke Elementary in Logan.

The closings would affect more than 2,600 students in Northwest Philadelphia.

The School Reform Commission, which has the final say in the matter, is expected to make its decisions in March.

As word of the proposal filtered out into the community, many shared their reactions with NewsWorks.

The scene at Germantown High

Outside the High Street school on Thursday morning, parents were more concerned about the proposed closure than any of the students.

An 11th grader who identified herself as "Lexus" got the news of her school’s recommended closing in a text from a friend who attends Martin Luther King High School Promise Academy.

"She said, ‘You know you coming to King High? ‘Cause G-Town getting shut down,’" Lexus said.

MLK and Roxborough High are listed in the district’s proposal as locations that Germantown students will go if the school is shuttered.

Even though her daughter is graduating this year, Tinksha Nathaniel was particularly upset by the news.

"They claim they don’t have enough teachers, so now you crowd them even more by combining schools?" Nathaniel said. "It’s not being said loud enough for a majority of parents to know. … I don’t remember getting any information, any mailings or anything."

Students and parents alike raised concerns about bad blood between students at Germantown and MLK as being an issue should the schools merge

"You want to send a bunch of kids from this neighborhood over to another neighborhood?" asked a parent who didn’t want to be publicly named. "It ain’t going to do nothing but cause more violence."

Most students casually making their way to the school’s campus seemed uninformed and uninterested in the swirling rumors of their schools impending closure. Not so for alumni, though.

"It’s like being punched in the stomach," Vera Primus, president of Germantown High School’s alumni association, said Thursday morning.

Primus, a 1971 graduate, is particularly upset that efforts — successful ones by her account — to improve the school over the years may now go to waste.

"It seems like nobody cares," Primus said. "They just do whatever they want to do."

Continue reading this story at NewsWorks