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Baltimore’s Only All-Male Charter Middle/High School In Danger Of Shutting Down

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Bluford Drew Jemison S.T.E.M. Academy
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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Parents, teachers and students at the only all-male charter middle and high school in Baltimore have started a petition to keep the school open.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the plea being made to school officials.

The 600 young men could soon be transferred to other schools if Baltimore City school leaders decide to shut them down. It’s a move some say could be devastating to the future of these students.

Educators at Bluford Drew Jemison S.T.E.M Academy are busy teaching.

Their students are intrigued and eager to learn.

But English and math aren’t the only subjects heavy on these scholars’ minds.

A controversial decision by city school commissioners to shut their school down has many wondering about the future of their education.

“It’s really shocking because this school hasn’t been open for very long and they already started transforming us young males into men, so imagine if it was open longer. It could make a big difference,” said Kai Reaves, eighth-grader.

Students fear if the school closes they will revert back to old habits.

“I had D’s and E’s when I first got to Bluford. Everybody was helping out, and then the next thing you know I got B’s and C’s,” said Joseph Dziecichowicz, eighth-grader.

The academy is the only all-male middle and high school in Baltimore City, and its students say without it, their lives would be much different.

“I am pretty sure if I wasn’t part of Bluford, I would 9 times out of 10 probably be dead or in jail,” said Khalil Banks, junior.

The commission weighs the shutdown of seven schools across the city on finances and low test scores–a scale the director and principal of Bluford says is misleading and ignores the real issue of what’s happening in the elementary schools.

“We get students reading at a third-grade, fourth-grade level,” said Dr. Anne Osbourn-Emery, chairman.

“We are developing the whole child here, not just test scores,” said Dr. Audrey Freeman, principal.

If the board votes to move forward, schools will close at the end of this academic school year.

The meeting on the shutdowns was scheduled for Monday at 5:30 p.m.

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