Intense School Control Fight

More than 1,000 people packed the McDonogh 35 High School Auditorium to voice their opinions about control of New Orleans public schools.

Passion ignited Thursday night at McDonogh 35 in Treme. 

A town hall-style meeting with the State Board of Education produced fireworks for more than three hours. More than 1,000 people were crammed inside the auditorium and another 200 or so were stuck outside when the fire marshal ordered the gates locked.

I had my own difficulties. The meeting started at 5:30 and I don’t get off the set until then. My photographer went ahead of me and I was to drive over to meet him at about 5:50. Easier said than done. Parking was a nightmare, then I ran into the upset masses stuck outside the locked gates. I argued that I was working, my photographer was already inside, and I had to be allowed in. One guard told me, “There’s already media inside.” I said, “Not from my TV station.” No one would budge until several minutes later when another guard told me to meet him around the side of the building and he’d let me in. I waited about five minutes and he never showed. He told me later he forgot about me. Understandable; there was a lot going on. So with no other apparent options available, I crawled under a fence. My white dress shirt now sports battle scars on the back — rust marks from the fence scraping against it.

Moments later, by 6:20, I was finally inside. 90+ people were signed up to speak, more against RSD-controlled schools than in favor, all speaking passionately for their belief in what is right for their children.

A vote is scheduled for December 9th to decide the schools’ fate going forward.

Here’s my story from McDonogh 35 High School:

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