By: Lauren Harper
Schools across the country have had to resort to some desperate measures to make things work, and Fort Mill is no stranger to this tactic with two of the scheduled furlough days already under its belt. One thing that most students in the Fort Mill School District should be thankful for is not having to be totally moved from their school. Harding University High School’s students are now facing this distressing news as Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS) has decided to close down the school as a high school in order to accommodate some of its other needs.
The high school, which has been open since 1992, was originally established as a math, science and technology school and in 1995 began offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) program to encourage its students to take more difficult courses. Recently, CMS officials have made a proposal to close the high school and allow for Smith Language Academy, a K-8 school, to occupy the campus. This leaves Harding students left with a decision to have to either attend E.E. Waddell High School or Philip O. Berry Academy High School. Those in the IB program will be kept together and sent to Waddell, while those in the math-science program will be sent to Philip O. Berry.
This decision leaves students feeling like they’ve been totally ignored about the fact that they are being split up and their school is being shut down. On October 29, students protested the board’s recommendation during classes walking out and lining the street of the school. The crowd reached the hundreds as students peacefully objected the closing of their school. “We want it to stay Harding. This is my school. It’s my home. When they told us that the school might close, it made us realize how much we love this school,” Jagerran Knight, a Harding football player, stated.
An original plan proposed for Smith Language Academy to be moved to Waddell’s campus and for Waddell’s displaced students to be distributed between Harding and South Mecklenburg High School. This caused for the decision to close Harding to be quite the surprise because this was not the original plan, and many believe that it should be changed considering that Harding has considerably higher test scores than Waddell. Students are hoping that CMS takes responsibility and makes a change to its decision so that they don’t have to change schools, especially juniors that don’t want to spend their final year of high school at a school to which they have no ties. The majority of high school students have plenty of school spirit, but there is not much spirit to be had when you’ve been forced to leave your school and attend a completely new one.