By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Supporters of Banneker Blake Academy are rallying against a decision to close the school before the school commission holds a vote Tuesday morning.

Baltimore City Public Schools CEO has asked the school commission to revoke the charter for the Banneker Blake Academy, a high-achieving charter school that serves all black youth.

Some of the kids at the school are designing apps in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade.

Parents say the future of their boys depends on the school, and without it, they’d be out on the streets, becoming just another statistic in a city ravaged by crime.

“We have to save our black youth. We’re making little boys into young men,” said Tanya Bridges, a mother to a student at Banneker.

Frustrations were echoed outside of Baltimore City Public Schools Headquarters on Monday.

“This is obscene what they’re doing to this school. It should not be allowed,” said Banneker Black Academy board member Mark Steiner.

Outrage over the possibility that Banneker Blake Academy could be forced to close its doors mounted.

“Black boys in this city, who are already under more than enough duress, are being picked on,” said Carl Stokes, founder of Banneker Blake Academy.

The north Baltimore school is an all-boys program that enrolls roughly 200-plus students in a rigorous curriculum for middle school boys. Most of whom, are growing up in poverty.

In a recent outline, city schools said Banneker doesn’t meet special education and operational practices while citing financial management issues.

“The report is riddled with blatant lies,” said Stokes. “And that’s why we can’t understand what’s going on here.

Mothers like Tanya Bridges say the school gives her son a chance to dream big.

“He’s no longer living in his neighborhood, he’s living on a Harvard campus in his mind,” said Bridges. “His dream to want to be in Harvard- what 10-year-old wants to be at Harvard? They want to play video games.”

Bridges says the future of Baltimore’s youth depends on schools like Banneker. A decision that’s now in the hands of the school commission.

“It would be a tragedy,” said one local pastor. “That this school board, due to politics, would shut down a school that’s changing lives.”

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Rick Ritter


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