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Lawsuits Surface to Challenge Normandy Transfer Decision

For the 2014-15 school year, it was announced in June that students from Normandy would no longer be allowed to attend schools in the FHSD. However, on Aug. 15, a hearing was held involving five students to decide whether they should be able to attend the schools they had gone to the previous year using the transfer program. The judge ruled in favor of the students, stating they would be allowed to continue their education at their alternative schools effective immediately. This only applied to those five students. Within the following week, another hearing was held to allow additional students to return to accredited schools as well. This case had the same outcome. As of press time, 17 students have returned to FHSD from the Normandy school district.

With this outbreak of lawsuits, FHSD is now preparing for a class action lawsuit. This means the lawsuit would cover all Normandy students, not just a small group or family. Superintendent Pam Sloan sent out a letter on Sept. 3 to parents and the community to informing them of the situations. The district is preparing for this by going through the same process of how the schools will accommodate Normandy students like they did going into the 2013-14 school year.

“If the judge makes that decision for the students to return, we need to be able to react quickly,” FHSD Chief Academic Officer Chris Greiner said. “We’re talking about how we can support the different buildings and working with transportation.”

Senior Dominique Taylor participated in the Normandy transfer program for her junior year. When she found out that the program would not be continued for the 2014-15 school year, her family made the decision to move to be able to stay at FHN for her senior year.

“I was super upset when I heard the program wasn’t going to be continued this year,” Taylor said. “Most of my friends are from Normandy or they graduated so that meant my senior year was going to be awful because I wouldn’t have any friends and would have to make all new ones.”

Dominique’s mother, Robin Edwards, was involved with this decision to stay at FHN. She knew from the beginning of last year that Dominique would continue her education in the FHSD regardless of the uncertainty of the student transfer law.

“I knew from the beginning that if the program were to be cancelled, we would move,” Edwards said. “I wasn’t all that shocked that the program wasn’t continued. She could’ve returned to her old school but I just didn’t want to make her move schools. Ultimately staying was the best decision we could make.”

While returning to North without her friends from Normandy was difficult, Dominique is still happy overall to have the opportunity to stay at FHN for her senior year and, in her opinion, to get a better education.

“It was better than having to switch schools again senior year,” Taylor said. “I’m happy I’m still at this school so I didn’t have to go through that whole process of changing [schools] again.”

Dominique may have her friends from Normandy return after all. In Greiner’s opinion, the future for Normandy is very uncertain. Greiner and his colleagues only hope to see students in the Normandy School District receive a good education, whether it is at Normandy High School or at one of the three high schools in FHSD.

“I was originally relieved to know that Normandy would no longer be bankrupting themselves,” Greiner said. “The District was hoping they would fix the transfer law because we knew Normandy would become bankrupt if the program continued. I feel pretty confident that the transfer law will be changed or modified in the future. But regardless, I’ve been really proud of our district and how our schools and teachers have embraced this change. They really made the students feel welcome and if the Normandy students were to return, I’m sure they would repeat that because they really showed how they cared about them.”

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