When I was in elementary school my school was pretty diverse. We had students of all different nationalities and backgrounds. However, for high school I went to a predominantly white high school. As a young Black teen, leaving behind the diversity that I was used to in school was a little jarring. I later learned that my mom filed a request for me to go to this particular school. It was out of my boundary area, but the school was ranked as one of the best schools in the county.
The schools in my neighborhood weren’t the worst, but they certainly weren’t the best. Based on school boundaries students are forced to go the schools that are nearby. While it may be convenient for families, it may not be the best option.
And that’s where my problem lives. Although I had the opportunity to go to a school outside of my boundary area, I believe every child deserves to go to a quality school no matter where they live especially since the areas with the best schools are often in predominantly white neighborhoods.
The Montgomery County public school system, where I went to school, has noticed this issue and in order to fix it, they are redrawing their boundary lines. They would like the schools to be more diverse. Some think this will be a great change while others are hesitant. Diversity allows students to be able to work with many different students. It also gives them a chance to learn from one another. I do think diversity is a good thing to have in schools. Those that don’t experience a diverse setting might have a hard time in the real world where they have to work with all different types of people.
The only reason why I would be hesitant to change boundaries lines is that of a recent study I just read. The study found that in schools where there is a higher population of white students compared to black students and it is a non-low-income school, black students are more likely to receive punishment and inaccurately disciplinary actions compared to white students.
Not only is that not fair, it’s racist.
If the population changes in a school, the school has to be ready for all of the students ensuring they have a fair experience. I think redrawing the school boundary lines will be good for Montgomery County but it has to be done right. Parents have to be part of the discussion, planning, and implementation because there are parents on both sides of this issue. Regardless of the outcome, the bottom line is that all students deserve a great education so if that means changing the boundaries then let the changing begin!
This post was written by Natasha Coleman and originally ran on the K12 D.C. Education Blog.