Northwood High School, which the Montgomery County Board of Education agreed Monday night should be closed at the end of the school year, will not shut down without an appeal to the State Board of Education and a court fight, a crowd of parents, students and teachers from the Silver Spring school said yesterday.
During a meeting at the school, community leaders said they will ask the state board to rescind the closing on the ground that the school board is violating its own facility guidelines by closing Northwood and forcing students there to attend other, crowded high schools.
The group, Northwood Community Solidarity, also plans to file suit against the Montgomery school board for the same reasons, said Roberta Ehrlich, one of the leaders.
"We talked about it and the overwhelming vote among the people who had worked together on this was that we should do what we can to keep it open," Ehrlich said.
The board voted 5 to 2, with Sharon DiFonzo and Jeremiah Floyd dissenting, to accept a proposal by Superintendent Wilmer S. Cody to close the school this June. That vote was the third time since 1981, when the school board voted to close 28 schools, that Northwood had been scheduled for closing.
The vote Monday night gave Northwood students in the 1986 graduating class the option of which of three high schools in the area they would attend their senior year: Blair, Kennedy or Einstein.
A vote by the 268 class members taken yesterday showed that 250 hope to tranfer en masse to Kennedy.
"We want to stick together as a class," junior class president Denise Hamilton said. "And we are going to hurt [the school board with the mass transfer] just as they hurt us."
"I think there are feelings of bitterness and the wounds are fresh," student government vice president Annette Lane added. "But I don't think the only reason we want to tranfer together is to hurt anybody. We want to stick together as a class."
The discussion yesterday after school hours was subdued and sometimes tearful, conversations in stark contrast to the angry testimony many in the crowd had given a week earlier in an attempt to convince the school board that Northwood should remain open.
Teachers spoke of worries about finding new jobs. Students fretted over the loss of athletic teams and cheerleading squads. Parents wondered how the school board expects them or their children to believe in the justness of the decision -- which made no sense to them or to the people who researched enrollment figures that showed increasing numbers of students in Silver Spring in a few years.
"We're still going to fight it," said Bill McFerren, a former golf coach whose 17-year-old son Brian will graduate this year from Northwood. "If you're not going to stand up and fight for what's right when you're in high school, when are you going to do it?"