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Community response over Charger article continues, school board convenes

Davis McCool, Editor-In-Chief

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Following an article published by The Charger, in which the superintendent discussed possible ways to combat the achievement gap, including a model that would create a separate school for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, members of the Oxford community reacted with a swift response.

After the article quickly gained national attention, heated opinions from all across the country began to surface on social media, and a crowd gathered to protest this model around 6:30 p.m. on the front lawn of Oxford Middle School.

Junior Jaquan Webb and senior Lydia Holland were two of many OHS students who came out to protest in response to the article.

“I came here because I feel like this proposal is a threat to me,” Webb said. “I get free and reduced lunch, but I also have a 3.5 GPA, and I high score on my ACT. They’re trying to railroad us.”

“Basically, we’re going to show them that we do have a voice,” Holland said. “We’re going to show them that this is going to be a real movement, and we’re going to show them that they can’t run us over because they have more money than us.”

As the protestors continued to arrive on the front lawn, school officials, including Superintendent Brian Harvey, were seen leaving Central Office-Bramlett. Around 7:30 p.m., Harvey addressed the protestors for the first time since the article broke earlier in the day.

“The first thing that I want to say is that we will not have a separate school for free and reduced lunch students,” Harvey said. “That’s not where this started. This started at the very heart to increase student achievement for all students.”

Harvey continued by explaining that, “We started a process in June, where we had a group from Virginia called the Urban Learning and Leadership Center. They made a presentation to our board, and where we are is just in the investigation stages of how we can improve education for all of our students.”

Harvey then fielded questions from the audience, where one protestor call for his [Harvey’s] immediate resignation.

OHS students had a variety of responses to the day’s events, but following the impromptu press conference, a group of students, self-named “The Black Chargers,” prepared a gathering for Friday morning at Oxford High School, that was attended by about 100 students.

Following the second straight day of response from the community and students, the Oxford School District Board of Trustees has set a Special Meeting today at noon to address “concerns stemming from the Charger newspaper article,” according to their notice.

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Community response over Charger article continues, school board convenes