Transitioning Harding HS Students

By Megan Trent

January 14, 2011 Updated Jan 14, 2011 at 7:58 PM EDT

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - School integration. In the East Allen County School district, the closing of Paul Harding High School means big transitions for the primarily black enrollment there.

Indiana’s NewsCenter found out what's being done to prepare for the upcoming changes.

While racism isn't what it was in the 1950's during school desegregation, it's still an unfortunate reality.

In 2012 Harding will transition to a college and career academy. That's means Harding's students will attend Leo, Woodlan, Heritage, or New Haven High School.

Last year, Harding's enrollment was 67% black, 9% white, and 24% classified as “other.” The other schools have black populations ranging from 0% at Leo to 7% at New Haven.

Next week teachers and students will begin diversity training, in hopes of preventing any race-related issues from occurring.

EACS Superintendent, Karyle Green, says, "We'll be looking at conversations on race, diversity training, cultural competencies, professional development related to restorative practices."

In addition, local pastors and religious leaders are joining together to make sure that the needs of students are being addressed - including how to spread understanding when it comes to racism. They hope to sit down with officials from both the Department of Education and EACS to discuss the future of Harding and its students.

Reverend Michael Latham is part of that effort. He says, "It's about teaching people how to live a lifestyle. Showing them how to act when you're around different people and what to expect and how to respond to it and teaching kids how to love people whether they're white, black, blue, green, or whatever. We've got to teach that."

Superintendent Green says most of the former Harding students won’t have to ride two buses to get to school. She says if the bus is full, it will go straight to its destination. If time on the bus is a concern, she suggests considering the school closest to where the student lives.

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