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Proposal to close R.A. Hubbard High School on the table

“When enrollment decreases we lose teachers and that’s less opportunities for our kids and so we want to make sure that we’re providing the very best education for our children,”
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 7:57 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE CO., Ala. (WAFF) - In Lawrence County, the school superintendent is proposing a plan to close down R.A. Hubbard High School. But many want the predominantly black high school to remain.

The history runs deep at R.A. Hubbard. It started as barracks and the completion is what you see today. Former school board member and Lawrence County NAACP Vice President Bobby Diggs says Richard Alexander Hubbard started a legacy by creating the predominantly black R.A. Hubbard High School.

“That legacy continues today, and is all about caring about our community and caring about our children,” said Diggs.

But, the Lawrence County school board wants to close down the school. Superintendent Jon Bret Smith says they’ve been concerned with declining enrollment at the school for quite a while, and costs significantly increase when enrollment declines.

“When enrollment decreases we lose teachers and that’s fewer opportunities for our kids and so we want to make sure that we’re providing the very best education for our children,” said Smith.

Smith also says R.A Hubbard is out of compliance with a desegregation order, and the plan is to split the students between Hatton and East Lawrence High School, where he says they’ll have better opportunities. Diggs says, there are several ways to de-segregate.

“It has so often been when you talk about de-segregation, they always want to come into the black community and get our children and ship them to the predominantly white schools. Why can’t we do this thing another way? Why can’t we go into the predominantly white schools and bring them to the predominantly black schools,” said Diggs.

Diggs says there are community grants Smith can use to save the high school. He says by sending R.A. Hubbard students elsewhere, they’ll be going into an environment where they’re not wanted.

“We’re fighting because we feel that our kids cannot get a better education at these other schools. Our kids, we feel like they can get the greatest education right here,” said Diggs.

Smith says as for the staff, they would also be split between Hatton and East Lawrence so the students will have familiar faces on campus. This proposal to close the school by the end of the school year will have to be voted on and approved by the school board, before being approved by a federal judge to move forward. Diggs says the teachers, students, and community here should have been made aware of this proposal before it happened.

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