Ferguson school district to shutter classrooms next week in anticipation of grand jury decision
Parents with children attending school on the eastern edge of Ferguson, Missouri, began receiving automated phone calls Saturday informing them that classes have been canceled next week over concerns over public reaction to an anticipated release of a grand jury decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Although a date and time for an announcement on whether charges will be filed against police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of the unarmed African-American teen has not been announced, district officials have decided to extend the Thanksgiving break for the whole week.
“With the heightened anxiety and activity, we thought it would be better for students and staff to extend the holiday at this point,” said Jennings School District Superintendent Tiffany Anderson.
Anderson went on to say that the decision to close the schools was not based upon any advance knowledge from law enforcement officials.
School officials state they aren’t concerned about student safety inside the schools, but on streets near some of them, with Anderson saying she wanted to give parents as much time as possible to arrange for child-care next week.
Most students attending the Jennings school district walk to school because the district doesn’t offer bus service, leading Anderson to express concern for their safety.
Jennings is the first of the four school districts to cancel school, giving students and staff a week-long Thanksgiving break.
Ferguson children who attend public school in Ferguson go to one of four districts — Jennings, Hazelwood, Riverview Gardens, and Ferguson-Florissant.
Anderson also noted that groups have moved into the area handing out fliers inciting students to disrupt classes.
She said the fliers are “encouraging students to be disruptive and encouraging them to think of police as pigs.”
Anderson added, “That was disturbing.”
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