DPS students plan 'Freedom School' during absences on Count Day

- Despite several school closings across metro Detroit Wednesday, the day is Count Day for schools across Michigan. But some parents of students in Detroit Public Schools say they're keeping their kids home in protest to send their support to the teachers.

Some students will be heading to Central United Methodist Church near Comerica Park to open up what they're calling a Freedom School. Freedom Schools were very common in the south during the days of segregation as would allow people to go to school and learn freely in that environment. Any students that does not attend their DPS classes can meet up there. The church is located at 23 E. Adams Ave. in Detroit.

Breakfast and lunch will be served, with two student assemblies in between. Students will also be making some take-home art, participating in a physical education class and a music and drumming class. There are some programs and topics planned for parents, too. All families who are "fed up with unsafe, inadequate schools" are invited to this Freedom School.

These students are protesting the bad school conditions and the conditions their teachers have been forced to work in for years.

"The actual state of Detroit schools have actually gotten worse from emergency management," says Dawud Walid, who is on the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"I have an autistic daughter, so, any kind of changes of environment that's uncomfortable for her, it's going to affect her," says Shanay Watson Whittaker.

Schools receive so much money per child on Count Day, so many are unhappy with these protests because it could negatively affect future funding for the school. However, according to state law, students who were not in their seats on Count Day still have a chance to be counted.

A student with an unexcused absense can be re-counted if he or she shows up within 10 days. A student with an excused absense can still be counted if he or she is in class within 30 days.

FOX 2's Roop Raj will check in with the Freedom School as it opens for session later this morning. Stay with FOX 2 for updates to this developing story. 

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