Boundary Study Protestors Swarm BOE

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Zoe Tishaev

Protestors flocked to Rockville the day the Board of Education voted on the boundary changes.

Kara Peeler, Editor-In-Chief

Amidst active protests, the MCPS Board of Education votes 7-1 Nov. 1 in favor of new boundaries, effectively altering school assignments for eight upcounty schools. The affected schools include CHS, Northwest and Seneca Valley high schools. Five of eight feeding middle schools also face changes. 

While board members cast their ballots on the controversial topic, an estimated 150 protesters gathered outside the Rockville building to protest the boundary change. Armed with chants and signs, the protest was booming. 

The protest was “chaotic, disorderly, and above all incredibly foolish,” said senior SGA president Zoe Tishaev, who attended the event. “There were at least 80 people there. People were chanting absurd slogans like ‘kids over politics,’ but when I pressed them on what they meant, they obfuscated.” 

In fact, the protests disrupted the Board of Education in their aims to prove a point. They filed into the lobby and drowned out the dialogue at the event.

Zoe Tishaev
On Nov. 1, 2019, the Board of Education votes 7-1 in favor of the boundary changes.

“I’d never seen anything like it before. It was hectic. But the vote passed, so it’s over now. I’m happy with the decision the Board made regarding the boundaries. I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Tishaev. 

Despite potential ineffectiveness or conflict of opinion, some say that these protests were completely warranted. 

“Everyone has their right to protest. As long as they are protesting meaningfully and are able to see all points of view, it’s okay that they were disruptive. That’s what protests are. Using your civic duty and being very active in that way is a good thing as long as they aren’t harming anyone,” said social studies teacher Kimberly Moore. 

Despite crowds of protesters, few counter-protesters were present. 

“I was probably the only one there for the recommendation. I showed up to be the voice of support so that the Board of Education knew that there were hundreds of families that supported the recommendation that couldn’t be there,” said Tishaev.

On the other hand, some Clarksburg families still question the BOE’s decision to support the boundary change. For example, many families who are being assigned to new schools are displeased by the vote. 

“My little sister is being affected by the boundary change,” said CHS senior Lasya Vennapusa. “She’s upset about it because she has to leave her friends and school behind. She’s going into 7th grade and she already started at Rocky Hill Middle School.”

MCPS
The Board of Education has set a schedule for actions regarding boundary changes.

However, the BOE has already spent hours on the boundary change, paired with a variety of public hearings and meetings, so these protests were last-minute aims for change. In order to appease public unease on the matter, the BOE released a schedule on their plans for the future over the following weeks, including public meetings at Gaithersburg HS, Julius West MS, White Oak MS, Walter Johnson HS, Blair HS, and Northwest HS. Their layout for future actions also spans into the spring of 2020. 

“I think the Board went into the meeting with their minds made. They had heard all sides of the argument and made the right choice,” said Tishaev, arguing that the protests were ineffective and it was too late to change the BOE’s mind.

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