By Ericka Mellon
Originally published May 7, 2014
Two Houston NAACP officers filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to stop the Houston school district from turning Jones High into a specialty school without athletics or a traditional attendance zone.
The suit filed by former Houston school board member Carol Galloway and James Douglas, vice presidents of the NAACP, alleges that the Houston Independent School District violated the state’s open-meetings law by not giving specific enough notice of its plans for Jones High in March
The meeting notice said the school board planned to consider a motion “to consolidate” Jones High into two other high schools, essentially closing the school in south Houston. Instead, the school board voted to approve an amendment that said Jones would be “repurposed” and turned into a career-focused specialty school where students from across the district could apply, according to the meeting minutes.
HISD said in a statement that it had not been served with the petition. But generally, the statement said, it is the district’s practice to “carefully post and take action in compliance with the Open Meetings Act.”
Galloway and others had lobbied to keep Jones open. They have expressed concerns that the specialty school will not appeal to students and will not help improve the long-struggling campus.
“This is what is happening to the mostly African-American schools,” said Galloway, who also has served on the City Council. “They’re going in and consolidating them all and not really wanting to find out what the students and community would like to see.”
Douglas is a law professor and former executive vice president at Texas Southern University.