Community meets at Lanier Middle School to discuss closures - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

School on proposed closure list could be used by former Memphis mayor

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Lanier is one of several schools proposed for closure in Shelby County School Board member Shante Avant's district. Lanier is one of several schools proposed for closure in Shelby County School Board member Shante Avant's district.
(WMC-TV) - The latest community meeting took place at Lanier Middle School Thursday; it is one of several schools proposed for closure in Shelby County School Board member Shante Avant's district.

"There are several schools that have come forward with plans with a community buy-in and community stake-holders willing to step up," said Avant.

The auditorium was larger at Lanier, but the crowd smaller than previous closure meetings.

"Lanier, you need to get your parents involved. This place should be packed!" said parent Bridget Bradley.

Still, Lanier Middle parents and students who did show up were no less vocal about saving their school.

"You may think this school is lame, but, to me, it's the best place I've ever been," said Lanier student Gabrielle Thomas.

Like other schools on the proposed closure list, the district cites poor academic performance and declining enrollment among the reasons for Lanier's inclusion.

"There are several really good schools who are in the process of turning around academic achievement," said Avant.

One option for re-using the middle school building would be to move Whitehaven High School's 9th grade into the building.

"Whitehaven High School is operating exceedingly in excess of capacity," noted one district official.

Part of the building could also house one of former Memphis Mayor and superintendent Willie Herenton's WEB Dubois Charter Schools as outlined in a letter Herenton already presented to the district.

"We think we could enhance our educational services to the boys and girls of that community  and to any students anywhere",' said Herenton.

For now though, former and current Lanier families will fight on.

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