Huntsville City Schools hears mom’s plea, after mistake lands the family on wrong side of school zone

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  A Huntsville mom pleaded for some understanding from the Huntsville City School System, after a mistake put the family on the wrong side of her daughter's school zone. Her requests were answered on Tuesday morning when Aaron King, Principal at Huntsville High School called to tell her that her daughter Mackenzie would be allowed to attend Huntsville High School.

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It's been a summer of preps for Katie Mitchell and her daughter Mackenzie, as she gets ready for her senior year.

"We enrolled her, she has her class schedule, parking pass. She did her school work all through the summer, because she has a bunch of AP classes. She has an AP chemistry exam the first day of school that she's been studying for all summer," says Katie Mitchell, Mackenzie's Mother.

But the excitement quickly turned to dread on Friday morning. "I get a call around 11:30 in the morning," says Mitchell.  "Saying Mackenzie was outside of the school district and I would need to transfer her to Grissom High School instead."

The mother and daughter had decided to move in May to get closer to Huntsville High School, and into a more affordable apartment. They looked at two locations across the street from one another. One she knew was in the district. The other, she assumed was also since they were right next to one another.

But it wasn't.

She told them they would be asserting their senior privilege, a policy Mitchell had heard about which states that any senior that lives in the district can go attend the high school where they completed the 11th grade. A quick Google search will help you find it. The only problem is that version of the school handbook is outdated.

"[They] told me senior privilege didn't exist anymore. It had been abolished," said Mitchell.

The current policy on the Huntsville City School's website mentions nothing about a senior privilege.

She began asking school leaders if this was true? And if so, what can be done? "No one that I've spoken to can give me a straight answer," said Mitchell.

As of Monday, two days before school starts, she still is unsure of where her daughter will attend or if she will get to take classes she's spent the summer studying for.

"We are beginning this year behind. We choose classes after they come back from Christmas. To wait until the first day of school as a transfer, you're probably going to get put into whatever is available because other classes are full. From a college recruiter stand point, they don't want to see that you struggled and struggled to make it at this point. Then they look at senior year and say 'what happened?'" explained Mitchell.

If you are looking to make a move, the Huntsville City School District encourages you to use their search tool on their website. You can find that here: https://www.huntsvillecityschools.org/

You just type in your possible address, and it tells you what school zone it is located in.