Community members protest JMCSS Vision 20/20 Plan
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JACKSON, Tenn. — One week after parents in the Jackson-Madison County School System heard Vision 20/20 proposals for the first time, dozens hit the streets in protest. They hope to rally support to save their schools from being shut down or repurposed. More than 50 protestors made their way to the central office in west Jackson, Monday morning and afternoon. They are urging the school board to listen to their concerns about the new proposals. “We want to express our concern for the history and the future of our school system as a whole,” JCM alumnus Brian Hicks said. These concerned parents, students and alumni represent Malesus Elementary and the historic Jackson Central-Merry High School, each protesting that closing their school could cripple their communities. “It’s a community school, and people move in that area just to go to that school to get a quality education and we’re gonna lose that,” Malesus alumnus Clint Ragan said. His father went to Malesus along his two children. JCM alumnus Cory Vann believes shutting down the only high school in east Jackson shows the district turning its back on this part of the city. “If you take away JCM, you have nothing for the children, no other outlet for these children. There is no community center. There is no YMCA. There is no summer programs,” Vann said, “The only thing you have left to offer these children when they walk out their door after school or during summer is gangs and crime.” Protest organizers say they are trying to let the school board know they think the district is showing limited sight with its Vision 20/20 plan. “We would like to have a say so in the decisions that they are making to upgrade, to improve or to eliminate the schools in the community,” Hicks said. WBBJ reached out to the school system but has yet to hear a reply in regards to the protests. The current Vision 20/20 proposals include closing Malesus, Beech Bluff and Nova Elementary schools, as well as West Middle School and JCM. There is a special school board meeting on October 13 starting at 6 p.m. at the district office.