LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. - A North Alabama high school on the brink of being shut down is now one step closer to finding out its fate. R.A. Hubbard High School landed on the state failing schools list in November.
Parents at R.A. Hubbard received a certified letter in the mail to choose if they will keep their students at the school or not. If too many students transfer and attendance numbers drop, the school will be forced to close.
The Alabama Accountability Act requires failing schools to provide students with the option to transfer to a non-failing school.
Lawrence County NAACP Leaders took to the podium to explain the letter of choices and it's different options.
Option 1 – The student may remain or enroll in the assigned school.
Robin Upton says when R.A. Hubbard was first placed on the failing list, she wanted to transfer her daughter out. She has since changed her mind.
"I wasn't on board at first but then I learned the history and I don't want her going anywhere else. I'm keeping my daughter where she is," said Upton.
Option 2 – The student may transfer to a comparable school that is not included on the annual list of “failing schools” within the same local school system that has available space and is willing to accept the student.
"It's treating the kids like they are just a ball that can just be bounced around the county or whatever. I understand that's part of the accountability act but that's putting a bad taste in your mouth," said Lawrence County NAACP Vice President, Bobby Diggs.
Option 3 – If the local system has not made Option 2 available, the student may transfer to a comparable school that is not included on the annual list of “failing schools” within another Alabama local school system that has available space and is willing to accept the student.
Because Lawrence County is providing option two, a third option that would allow students to transfer out of the county has been taken off the list. That's in accordance with the Alabama Accountability Act, but some parents say that won't stop them.
"If R.A. Hubbard were to close, my kids would not go to another Lawrence County School. I will not support Lawrence County if they can not support R.A. Hubbard," said parent Porsha Orr.
Option 4 – The student may transfer to a qualifying non-public Alabama school that is willing to accept the student.
If too many students transfer, R.A. Hubbard will be forced to close. So for now, it's a waiting game while parents think about their options and turn in their letters of choice.
"They don't know if they are going to be at R.A. Hubbard, they don't know if they are going to be at another school. It's put a lot of pressure on the students, it's put a lot of pressure on the parents because we are in limbo... we just don't know," said Diggs.
The letters are due by March 1, 2020, to the Lawrence County Board of Education.