School closer than the bus stop for some high...
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Aug 27, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

School closer than the bus stop for some high school students

Hamilton Mountain News

By Gord Bowes, News staff

If Jenny Brown was born a year earlier, she would have no problem attending the high school closest to her home.

But while she can practically see Nora Frances Henderson Secondary School from her house, her home school is now Sherwood, more than two kilometres away.

Last year, she would have been accepted at the school, then known as Barton. But a boundary change put in place in the spring to align with a planned new high school south of Rymal Road has thrown the situation out of alignment.

“Even to get to the bus to Sherwood I would have to walk farther than I would (to Barton),” said Jenny.

Back in the spring, while still in Grade 8 at Lawfield, Jenny found out about the boundary realignment. She opted to go to Westmount, which accepts students from across the city, rather than go to her “home” school of Sherwood.

A couple weeks ago, she reconsidered her decision and asked to attend the former Barton high school, where her sister had just graduated. She was denied.

The boundary was changed in advance of the new school opening — the latest estimate from the board is September 2016 — to ensure students are kept together and move as a cohort to the new location.

“For the Grade 8s moving into Grade 9, we’re really making every effort to get the students in the right school,” said superintendent Laura Romano. “What we don’t want is disruption in two years when they move to Henderson”

“I know it’s frustrating sometimes for parents to understand the logic behind that, but it really is in the best interest of the kids at this point.”

That doesn’t wash with Jenny’s mom, Denise Brown, who said she would rather her daughter get to attend the school of her choice. She said Jenny could end up taking a bus for three of her four years in high school.

“They’re going to make her take a bus for a minimum of two years, possibly longer, when she could walk around the corner to school,” said Denise Brown.

At press time, a decision was still being made about the Brown family’s request for an “out of catchment” exemption to allow Jenny to attend Henderson High.

Romano said some exemptions for other students have been made.

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