The new redistricting plan creates difficulties for middle school students

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The new redistricting plan creates difficulties for middle school students

Graphic by Kaela Dockray '20

Graphic by Kaela Dockray '20

Graphic by Kaela Dockray '20

Lyah Muktavaram '22, Staff Writer

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Recently with the new redistricting plan to rebuild Coleytown Middle School, the district has come to the decision that there needs to be more enrollment in the Coleytown schools. As a result, the elementary schools need to be evened out in terms of enrollment. 

Consequently, students previously expected to enroll in Long Lots Elementary School, and later Bedford Middle School, could be moved to support the Coleytown population. 

While this plan may benefit the general Coleytown school population, this plan will negatively impact the individual students from Long Lots and Bedford.

Growing up within walking distance from Long Lots and Bedford, I couldn’t imagine having to drive over seven minutes for school every day. Nevertheless, for several Long Lots’ students, this may become a reality. Rather than taking a short walk to school, students at Long Lots will be forced to commute from their homes to the Coleytown, allocating more time for the distance.

This redistricting plan will be very difficult for their families, specifically for students whose parents leave early for work. My parents leave before the middle school start time at 8:00 a.m., but my younger sister can easily walk to school if she were to miss the Bedford bus. However, if we were forced to redistrict to Coleytown, she wouldn’t be given this opportunity. Instead, students will have to face the traffic of North Avenue, which could eventually impact the traffic to Staples as well. The middle school traffic could add to the traffic already formed at Staples, making it more difficult for high school students to get to school. 

Along with this, the transition will be challenging for students socially as well. While most will be young enough to adjust to a new school, the students in the middle schools will have a harder time. They’ll have to go from a familiar environment with their friends, teachers and school to a foreign situation where reestablishing  relationships will be necessary. 

With the daily pressures of middle school, whether it’s social or academic, fitting into a new school doesn’t make  the pressure more manageable. 

Along with this, the transition will be challenging for students socially as well. While most will be young enough to adjust to a new school, the students in the middle schools will have a harder time.”

— Lyah Muktavaram '22

Many have brought up the idea of waiting for the new superintendent next year to make this decision. In reality, this decision is something for the BOE, not the superintendent, to make, and waiting for the new superintendent will only slow this process down. 

With the BOE elections in November, this change won’t impact of timing of the redistricting.  

Regardless, this decision isn’t something to take lightly. While this redistricting plan will greatly impact the individual students and their families, Westport is still left with an uneven population in the middle schools. With more parents and students coming forward to share their opinion, the BOE will have more of a perspective on different opinions to able to proceed with this plan.

 

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