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Eastside Memorial Students Plea to Keep School Open

One of the students featured in the Eastside Memorial video.

A video posted on You Tube is pleading with state officials not to close Eastside Memorial High School.

The school is at risk of closure or state takeover if the Austin Independent School District does not choose an acceptable outside partner to run the school and improve the school's performance. 

The video is called the "Eastside Memorial High school Poem Dedication." It was posted by the user, Missez Allen. The video shows students holding posters that share personal stories about themselves and how Eastside Memorial has helped them through difficult times.

One poster reads, "I've been bullied for years. Eastside Memorial treats me like family." Another student holds a poster that says, "My father's best friend murdered my mother … Eastside is my family now. Don't take that away."

Other students hold posters with their names and school identification number on them. As each student holds up the poster, a young's woman voice is heard.

"I am not a number on paper. I’m a person I have feelings and needs and trauma to be undone," the voice says. 

The woman continues:

My life at home is unstable enough, and now you want to shut down my school and make that tough? The school that you provided me is built on an unstable foundation, made with bricks of uncertainty and fear and intimidation. Maybe if you allow the students a sense of security we’d be able to focus on learning. You see, we come from situations you just can relate to--dysfunctional families without the means to do all the things you expect them to do. And so instead we come looking to you, to maintain our second home, our second family. Maybe then you’ll be able to see that we are Eastside Memorial High School.

In 2011, AISD signed a contract with a charter school, IDEA Public Schools, to improve Eastside Memorial and the elementary and middle schools within its neighborhood. But in December, the Austin School Board canceled its contract with IDEA.

AISD has received proposals from five companies. Johns Hopkins University and the American Institute for Research will give oral presentations on their specific proposal on Saturday, April 20. The first time the Austin School Board can vote on a proposal is April 22. The Texas Education Commissioner must also approve the new partner.

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