BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Baltimore City’s school board voted last night to shut down four schools before the next academic year.
WJZ’s Derek Valcourt has reaction from the community.
News that Baltimore Community High School is on the closure list is being celebrated in the Dundalk community it borders.
For years residents like Pat Boia have been complaining that kids at the alternative high school have caused fights, property damage and other problems.
But the brutal April beating of one of their neighbors by several students at the school pushed many, including Baltimore County Councilman Todd Crandell to appeal to city school leaders to shut it down.
Valcourt: “Was this school creating a lot of tension in this community?”
“There’s no question creating a lot of tension, a lot of aggravation. So I think the community is feeling a sense of relief, I’m certainly pleased with the decision,” said Councilman Crandell.
Community High School is one of four schools slated to close after a vote by the school board as part of their annual review of underused or poor performing schools.
“We really think carefully about these recommendations. There’s a lot of analysis that goes into it,” said Alison Perkins-Cohen, Baltimore City Schools.
But not everyone is happy with the decision.
“I think it’s very detrimental to a community that’s already been hit hard,” said Spencella Dobson.
Dobson is one of many unhappy about the closure of Westside Elementary School in the Penn-North neighborhood recently devastated by the Freddie Gray unrest.
Dobson says, “They felt safe dropping their kids off here even though there was armed men on every corner.”
Those children must now go to a nearby school.
The closures will all take effect at the end of this current school year. The four schools include: Baltimore Community High School, Maritime Industries Academy, Maryland Academy of Technology and Health Sciences and Westside Elementary School.
The school board is still studying the recommendation to close a fifth school.