Letter to the editor: Sacrifice zone?

To the editor:

The ongoing efforts to close elementary schools and those in neighborhoods without the wealth of west Lawrence is obscene. Despite the success of schools like Woodlawn in preparing generations of students to graduate from college in medicine, law, education, engineering and social work, as well as preparation for career technical trades that include machinists, HVAC, plumbing, electricians and a host of other fields, the benefit of Woodlawn is totally disregarded. Using biased criterion and processes to obtain the pre-determined decision to possibly close the school is a disgrace.

Schools east of Iowa Street, from Kennedy, Broken Arrow, Central, Woodlawn, Pinckney and New York, as well as our neighborhoods, are consistently the first to be sacrificed, without regard for the consequences. It is unclear whether the decision to exclude Woodlawn from public hearings means it is still ultimately on the chopping block. Despite comments that “our people are more important than buildings,” the actions of the district failed to consider the risk to children ineligible for school buses, the little kids that could be required to walk across the bridge, through high traffic areas, industrial areas and unfamiliar neighborhoods. Not everyone has a car!

USD 497, remove the language of DEI, as it’s clear our kids don’t matter. If they did, USD 497 would have long ago used resources to invest in these schools or to build a “Langston Hughes Elementary School” to serve the very neighborhoods and targeted schools that truly embody diversity, equity and inclusion.

Venida Chenault,



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