Denby High School on state's chopping block, Detroit students at risk

Josh Landon is a graduate of Denby High School and played football at the school.

Of 38 schools in Michigan that are in jeopardy of being shut down by the State due to low academic performance, 26 are in the City of Detroit, including Denby High School on the city's east side. Denby High School Principal is hoping that the recent signs of improvement can change things.

Tanisha Manningham has been the principal at Denby High for the past two years. She says, in that time, the school has shown signifcant signs of improvement.

"We are on the upswing here," Manningham said.

A week ago, the possible school closures were announced as schools that have not performed up to the state's standards were notified that they could be closed.

26 at-risk Detroit schools could be forced to close

Before closing a school, the state would have to ensure that any student displaced would be able to enroll in a nearby school that has a better academic performance.

That process could take to up 45 days to complete.

If Denby or any of the other 26 schools in Detroit close, the concern lies in where all of those students will go to school. Many kids who live in the city already face a lot of challenges.

Detroit schools, EAA to respond to state's at-risk schools list

"We've started doing home visits and it's very impactful and very enlightening to see what some of our students are going through and some of them have challenges once they leave outside these doors. To come here is their safe haven," Manningham said. "To close this school would increase the challenges even more. We have students who take the bus. We have students who walk. If we close down this entity, they would have to walk even further to get on the bus to get to their school."

Manningham believes if more schools do close, the possibility of more than 30 students in a classroom is very likely.
For decades, public schools in Detroit have been mis-managed and under-resourced by those in control, which includes the State.

"We have East English Village which is down the street, but they're over populated. I know the principal very well. So if we were to shut down, that means her enrollment would increase even more."

Javon Golson, a student athlete talks about the challenges and the possible ripple effect of closing more schools in our City.

"School is here to give you a better opportunity to better yourself in life. But if school is harder to get to, then you will more than likely do something the wrong to get what you want,"Golson said.

Manningham says the State needs to be patient before making the final decision to close any more schools.

"Give us the opportunity, I feel 100 percent confident that the staff we have in place needs to be sustained. We need to show consistency. That is the key. Can I keep coming in and disrupting plans that have only been implemented or one or two years."

Lawmakers in Lansing have declined to comment at this time. A decision is likely to be made in March on which or if any schools will be closed for good.

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