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Students stage walkout protest at Midtown High over APS rezoning plan

Some students told 11Alive they believe rezoning is disproportionately impacting Black students.

ATLANTA — Hundreds of students staged a walkout protest Friday at Midtown High School over a rezoning plan proposed by Atlanta Public Schools.

APS presented the plan in a public meeting earlier this month. A draft recommendation of the school system's final plans is due to the Atlanta Board of Education on April 1.

Under a video outline of the plan, about 200 students would be rezoned out of Midtown High. Similar plans have been put forth for Maynard H. Jackson High and Woodson Park Academy, a K-7 school.

APS has said the rezoning plans are necessary to alleviate overcrowding at these schools. They project Midtown High will be nearly 200 students over capacity by the start of the 2024-25 school year, with a five-year projection of being 111% over capacity.

RELATED: Atlanta Public Schools to hold meetings on potential rezoning effort at overcrowded schools

The school system is attempting to recalibrate projections at these schools to about 90% capacity for the near-term future.

Some students who participated in the protest, which saw them walk out en masse over to neighboring Piedmont Park, told 11Alive that they believe rezoning will disproportionately impact Black students.

APS said in a statement: “Students walked out because of some displeasures they had with some things that they --heard--- about rezoning and issues of overcrowding at their school, but it was peaceful. We will have a full statement to send out later today.”

RELATED: Parents, advocates make their voices heard at first APS community rezoning meeting

11Alive's Dawn White spoke to several students, parents and community organizers at the Maynard H. Jackson High community meeting on March 8, who expressed their concerns about the rezoning proposal.

“It will break our neighborhood up into two different elementary and middle school and high school districts, which will negatively impact our neighbors," Matt Rinker, the vice president of the Peoplestown Neighborhood Association, said.

“I would like to see the schools being renovated to add more space so that they can utilize the building properly instead of just saying, ‘Well, it’s at 100% capacity,'" a parent, Shounterria Brandon, said. 

A "no-change" option is on the table in the APS proposals, which would call for:

  • An innovation review
  • A review for the potential to add to existing capacity
  • Reviewing available resources to add support
  • Completing a residency review of current students

Further community outreach meetings are scheduled for April. The Atlanta Board of Education would then review the plans in May and potentially ratify them at its June 5 meeting.


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