LUBBOCK, Texas– Following a controversial decision to close Dupre Elementary, teachers and families of students shared their outrage on Thursday morning at the Lubbock Independent School District’s board meeting. Many outspoken community members cited L.I.S.D’s lack of transparency and disregard for racial minorities.
Comments from concerned community members included:
- “We have trusted you to care for our most valued treasures, our children, our neighborhood assets, and in many respects, our collective future.”
- “Many kids are at Dupre because they fell through the cracks of big schools. They want people to know their name. They don’t want more programs.”
- “As an educator of students that come from a low, socioeconomic status, I understand that they need more love and one-on-one attention over any curriculum I can ever provide.”
- “Parents feel betrayed and this is very reasonable.”
L.I.S.D. Board of Trustees cited declining enrollment and the financial benefits of consolidation as reasons to close the oldest elementary school in Lubbock.
“There’s a wealth of literature that talks about how low-income Black and Hispanic students do better in small, community-based schools,” said Leia Arteaga, the mother of a second grader at Dupre.
Ryan Curry, a trustee who voted to close Dupre, said race is not a factor he considered.
“I am sick of people throwing rocks as if we look at a decision from a racial or socioeconomic standpoint. That doesn’t get brought up in these conversations,” Curry said with frustration. “We have put a fortune of money– some to my displeasure– in schools that are suffering, that are socioeconomic challenged and high diversity.”
“Mr. Curry said that we need to take race out of the conversation. You can’t take a race out of conversation,” Sandra Chatham, a community advocate said after the meeting.
Not in a school with a minority makeup like Dupre’s, Chatham explained, adding, “I thought that was very inappropriate, but he really showed us who he was today.”
Dupre Elementary has an 87% racial minority population, according to a national nonprofit.
“I think that LSD made a mistake today. I think that they devalued the children of this community,” Arteaga tearfully expressed. And while the board of trustees is not acting overtly racist, Arteaga said, “They are part of a racial system that continues to fail the vast majority of Lubbock ISD students.”
Students attending Dupre Elementary can choose to attend either Carmona-Harrison or Brown Elementary School, but parents can also request a transfer to other schools in the district as well.