Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter
DALLAS (CBS11) – Rumors circulated for most of the day about a planned walkout at Dallas’ South Oak Cliff High…and then just after 3:00 o’clock, determined students began rushing from the building.
“We want the truth,” Senior David Johnson told the crowd. Johnson says repairs to the aging building appear to be unending. And promises of completion are never kept. He and his youthful supporters want a new school: Even if they won’t get to enjoy it.
“What we want is a new school, that’s what we want,” says Johnson. “Students who have to learn in this environment—we want something better, we want what we deserve.”
Although the students provided the passion, the well-organized show of juvenile discontent didn’t happen by accident. The hand of a local community activist was apparent.
“It’s beyond repair,” says Minister Dominique Alexander. Alexander, founder of Next Generation Action Network, says the pattern of using bond money to finance repairssimply isn’t working. “Our thing is, if it didn’t work in 2008, how are you going to tell us that it’s going to work in 2015? It’s beyond repair. This thing has been neglected for so long—they don’t know what’s going on. You fix something on one side of the building and then it’ll be a whole another problem on one side of the building.”
Dallas school officials admit that the ongoing repairs are unsightly. But, insist that the building is safe… adding that they are doing their best to make much needed improvements.
“Our students deserve better, so it can’t wait,” says Andre Riley, DISD Spokesperson. “We want to get in there and make the necessary improvement to the heating and cooling system… so that’s what we’re working on.”
District leaders couldn’t immediately say what disciplinary action the students could face for having skipped the last class of the day. But, say they are troubled at the timing of the walkout because students today were taking end of course exams that they must pass to graduate. “We appreciate the voice of our students. However, today is very important,” says Riley, “focusing on exams and doing your best. The timing is not appropriate, especially given what’s a stake.”
Meanwhile, with ceilings exposed and unreliable heating and cooling, students insist that the academics and the aesthetics are connected.
(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)