Parents, students in Robeson County make emotional plea to save their schools

Robeson County School Consolidation

LUMBERTON, N.C. (WMBF) - The Public Schools of Robeson County held a public hearing Monday night about its proposed plan to close several schools.

School district officials recently introduced a consolidation plan that would shutdown South Robeson High School and four elementary schools and merge the students with surrounding schools.

Dozens of parents, students and even teachers showed up to Lumberton Junior High School to make their voices heard.

"I don't feel safe going to Fairmont, I don't even feel safe going to Purnell either," one student said to school board members.

“They got one-on-one with their teachers, but that isn’t going to happen at Lumberton, that isn’t going to happen at Purnell and the other schools that’s over-crowded,” a parent said.

Parents like Angela Rowdy, who is also a graduate of South Robeson High School, attended the hearing with more questions than anything.

“I would like for them to tell us why South Robeson and why now, and actually how much will they save by closing South Robeson?” Rowdy said.

Meanwhile rising seniors hung up “Save our Schools” posters and spoke just as passionate as the adults in an effort to keep their close-knit class from possibly being torn apart.

“We’ve been going to school in Rowland ever since we were little and all of us are really close so you know nobody really wants our school to shut down and the seniors to split up,” rising senior Jolena McArthur said.

“It’s going to be difficult,” student Nadia McNair said. “We’re going to have to adjust to new rules. It’s not going to be the same.”

It’s that close connection and so much more Rowdy and others said the community stands to lose if the board moves forward with the plan. They’re hoping officials realized that Monday night.

"The big take away is that the board realizes they’re dealing with people, not just numbers and how much value do you place on a life anyway?” Rowdy said.

The regular school board meeting is Tuesday. It’s unclear yet whether the school board will make a final decision on the proposed plan during the meeting.

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