Chesapeake parents angry, students sad, as school board votes to rezone

Parents are outraged by the change

CHESAPEAKE - CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- Parents and students reduced to tears at Monday night’s Chesapeake School Board meeting. The board unanimously voted to rezone their district affecting a total of six schools.

"I think everyone here is pretty much heartbroken it really feels like we came out for no reason," said parent Kim Lee.

Lee was one of 50 parents and students who signed up to speak against the rezoning. However, when they finished, the board, without even a discussion, voted to rezone the district affecting four middle schools and two high schools.

The schools affected include Deep Creek Middle, Great Bridge Middle, Hickory Middle, Hugo Owens Middle, Great Bridge High and Hickory High.

"It was already decided why make us talk, why ask questions," said one parent.

"I was expecting them to be honest I was expecting them to really be honest with the people," said another parent.

"It's very hurtful and disrespectful of everyone here," said another parent.

Sixth grader, Hayden Newman had tears running down his face when he found out he will have to leave Hugo Owens Middle School. He will now be going to Deep Creek Middle.

"He's crushed, he spoke tonight and then he cried afterward," said his father Justin Newman.

Deep Creek Middle doesn't have a robotics program.

“The one thing he enjoys doing they took that away from him," said Newman.

Margaret McNair has a special needs daughter who will remain at Hugo Owens but many of her friends will not.

"Now we are taking the kids that she went to elementary school with, middle school with, and they are being taken away from her," said McNair.

School Board Chairman Jeff Bunn said they did listen to the public but in the end they had to do what's best for the district as a whole.

"It's a very hard decision to take because you are affecting families and things,” said Bunn.

He also said he understands change is hard but he thinks over time these families and students will be just fine.

"Kids are resilient and they are going to be successful as long as they have support from their parents," said Bunn.

As for high school students, 10th, 11th and 12th graders will still be able to attend their current school as long as they provide their own transportation.

The rezoning is set to take place starting next school year. Click here to learn more about the new zones.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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