LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – On Dec. 7, 2021, the Lawrence County School Board voted to permanently close the doors of RA Hubbard High School.
The council said it would be fiscally irresponsible for the state to continue funding its operation through desegregation laws.
NAACP attorneys filed a federal lawsuit to block the ruling.
RA Hubbard is the only predominantly black school in Lawrence County and carries a legacy that continues to grow. The student body used their excuse pass to come to the courthouse as a presence they want the legacy to continue.
“The legacy we have built and can continue to represent means a lot to me,” RA Hubbard student Richard Green told News 19.
Green echoes the pleas of students who arrived at the Decatur District Courthouse today in unison, saying the closure of their community treasury is wrong and racially motivated.
“We are a very close community and we all consider each other family and understand each other very well,” Green continued.
When the school board voted to close RA Hubbard, students, parents and community leaders filed a lawsuit to block the decision. Lawyers representing both sides presented their case to Judge David Proctor on Thursday.
The board said the primary reason for the closure was cost issues with a low student body, arguing that Hubbard had the highest cost per student of any of the district’s four high schools.
“They failed to mention the reason Hubbard’s student population is low because every time something happened in the county they changed the district lines,” NAACP President Jan Turnbore said. “When they opened East Lawrence High School, they took all the students from Hillsboro and Wheeler and sent them to East Lawrence. They were already in Courtland. This decreased Courtland High School’s population.
Since 2009, district leaders say student body has shrunk from more than 320 students to less than 150. NAACP attorney says district’s decision to close school goes against desegregation laws of Alabama that diminish the value of the school.
“This school is more than just an educational outlet for our students. It’s one of the best schools in the county, but it’s also more than that,” Turnbore said.
Chris Pape, an attorney representing the school board, argued that when black students attending Hubbard travel to attend other schools, it will significantly improve segregation.
Judge Proctor says a decision will be made as soon as possible.
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