Avondale closing: learn before you judge

Avondale closing: learn before you judge

Benjamin White

Last year, Avondale High School closed because it did not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Playing volleyball all four years of high school, I’ve came across the Avondale High School volleyball team a few times. In the middle of a heated season, Avondale was generally a less threatening opponent. We always won.

I found this to also be the case when Decatur competed with Avondale in other sports. At Decatur, Avondale became a sort of joke. It wasn’t as wealthy as Decatur, and it didn’t have as nice facilities as we do.

When Avondale closed down, the negative stigma around it increased. Avondale didn’t meet its Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind Act. Many Decatur students found this amusing – comical, even. There were suggestions that the students weren’t smart enough or the school didn’t care enough about its students to keep them on track.

After reading Marsha Tucker’s (an Avondale parent) letter to the media, I now know that many of the perceptions surrounding Avondale aren’t true.

In the years leading up to the closing, Avondale’s school board allowed the Dekalb Early College Academy and the Dekalb School of the Arts to host classes in Avondale’s High School. The board also spent a significant amount of its funds renovating the areas of the school that the visitors were using, while Avondale students had classes in trailers. Parents had asked for renovations for the Avondale students in the previous years, but the school board claimed that they didn’t have significant funds.

Parents also argue that the money (money that supposedly the school didn’t have) would have been better used to help Avondale meet the Adequate Yearly Progress. This year, the students were forced to relocate to schools they weren’t familiar with, some students for their senior year of high school, a year that is supposed to be great.

Knowing some of the reasons behind the Avondale closing have made me reevaluate my perspective of the school. It is not the students’ fault that their school closed – in fact, they are the victims of a very unfortunate situation. Imagine if Decatur closed down and how that would impact our community. Avondale lost its community in a single decision.

As part of an influential area, Decatur students shouldn’t be so quick to judge the misfortune of other schools. Instead, we should support our new Avondale students and welcome them into our community.