Some parents in Prince George’s County are upset about a plan to make Largo High School one of the locations for the school district’s new international high schools, telling school board members that the community has asked for additional programming for the students who already attend the school.
The president of the Largo High School PTA and a state delegate asked the board and Prince George’s County Schools Chief Kevin M. Maxwell to reconsider their decision to place one of the schools, which are designed specifically to help recent immigrants and second-generation students adapt and succeed in school, at Largo.
“The PTA and the community deserves to keep us as one whole school with one principal,” said Aisha Braveboy (D-Prince George’s), an alumni of the school. “It is not compatible with the needs and desires of the community. We must represent the needs of the community that we are serving.”
Valerie White, the president of the PTA, said she was concerned because the community did not have input in the decision. She asked for transparency as the process moves forward.
The school district received a $3 million grant earlier this year from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to start the schools for English-language learners.
Board member Verjeana Jacobs (District 5) raised questions about the sustainability of the schools in light of state and county budget deficits.
School officials have said each of the two schools in Prince George’s will open with 100 ninth-graders and will add 100 students each year until the schools reach their maximum capacity of 400 students.
Largo is slated to be the site of the “school within a school.” The other location, which will specifically serve the Langley Park community, has not been released. It will not be in an existing school.
The complaints over the Largo location comes as the school system fends off opposition from the county’s chapter of the NAACP over the schools.
Bob Ross, president of the county NAACP, told Maxwell and school board members in September that the group is opposed to the new schools. Ross said the chapter has questions about whether the schools move the district back toward segregation.
Ross said he thinks the schools may be counter to the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The landmark ruling declared that separate public schools for black and white students violated the Constitution.
There are 19 similar schools across the country, including T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria and Cardozo High School in the District. Maxwell said he is unaware of any legal problems with any of them.
The schools in Prince George’s are scheduled to open next year.