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School officials should think about a compromise

Posted: January 25, 2015 - 1:11am

Thinking back to my high school days, I’m certain there were times when I would have paid someone to send me away to another school where no one knew me and I could start over.

Admittedly, those times were infrequent and probably coincided with an impending math test or certain Monday mornings.

Even so, I know my teenage self would have been horrified at the prospect of being forced to move to another high school because of a county rezoning plan.

I had friends. I was involved in extracurricular activities. I had a strong sense of loyalty and pride in my school that couldn’t have been easily shed for the sake of the better good.

So I understand the outrage some Greenbrier High School parents and students are feeling right now as they contemplate the prospect of switching to Lakeside High next fall.

It seems unfair, and in some ways it is, but let’s be real.

The reality is that moving to another high school is not the end of the world. It happens every single day.

Far worse fates could be wished on these folks than being sent to Lakeside. There are plenty of families in our are who can only wish the to be so fortunate.

Lakeside and Greenbrier are among the best schools in the state. Any parent should be thrilled to send the children to these schools. I imagine that most are. Most of these families probably selected their homes, based on the schools they wanted their children to attend.

It’s the reputation of Columbia County schools, and the availability of new homes that has made this massive rezoning plan necessary.

I think everyone understands that. Even the most ardent Greenbrier parents know that what school officials are proposing is not unreasonable, given the reality they face.

The fact is that enrollment in the county school system is growing faster than ever. The county can’t build schools quick enough to keep up at this point.

The Grovetown and Greenbrier school zones are the main focus of this rapid growth. Without rezoning, officials expect Greenbrier’s enrollment could be close to 1,900 students in the fall. Shifting some of those students to Lakeside, which has unused capacity only makes sense.

The system has limited resources and the administration is doing its best to use those resources efficiently. No argument there.

However, I also understand why some people are upset about moving their children, especially those who are only a couple years from graduating and heading off to college.

We must ackowledge that moving in the middle of high school can have detrimental effects on a student’s high school career. It could even impact the college they ultimately attend.

Students who have worked their way to leadership roles in sports, band or other extracurricular activities can expect to lose a lot of ground if they have to start over in a new place next year. That’s the reality of the situation.

So, it seems reasonable that a compromise could be offered.

School officials have said that the Greenbrier rezoning will affect only about 200 students next year. Of that number, 53 are rising seniors who are exempted from the plan. Another group of 50 or so are rising freshmen, who have never attended a class at Greenbrier, They should move on to Lakeside.

That leaves about 100 more students who have already put down roots at Greenbrier and are moving toward graduation. I think school officials should be able to let those who want to stay there, do so.

It will not be disruptive to the schools or the system to let 100 students have a choice. Most will likely stay at Greenbrier, but probably not all.

Who would it really hurt? Not the students, to be sure.

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