People are loud until it’s their turn to speak up

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 20, 2022

One word can be used to sum up the listening session hosted by the Natchez Adams School District Board of Trustees during their meeting on Tuesday, May 17—disappointing.

The Board of Trustees made their intentions for having such a meeting very clear, they wanted to listen to stakeholders about the fate of old school buildings once the New Natchez High School is finished. A plan presented to the school board in recent meetings suggests that the Frazier Elementary School and the Robert Lewis Magnet School buildings would be emptied of students. The magnet school and Morgantown Middle School would be merged as the Natchez Middle School and moved to the current high school campus while Frazier Elementary Students would be bussed to Morgantown.

Despite how vocal citizens and public officials have been about keeping the school buildings open, no one but one, North Natchez High School Alumnus Greg West, decided to speak up on Tuesday. West, who is a friend of the school district as a bus driver, came to the meeting wearing his green and gold jersey prepared to ask if the Robert Lewis Magnet School’s gym could be used for the North Natchez Reunion coming up on May 27 through the 29. West voiced the dream of having the school commemorated somehow on the very campus that was once North Natchez High School, perhaps in the form of an outdoor museum.

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Props to West for everything he has done to make sure that the school’s legacy, and the history behind it, is forever remembered.

It’s easy to understand why many are passionate about keeping Robert Lewis’s building alive and in use. It’s history. For the Rams, inside those walls were where friendships were forged during trying times, the desegregation of schools in Mississippi. Students were ripped away from friends and placed in classrooms with others they didn’t know.

It’s far past the time that we should put the racial animosities felt in those days behind us, but never the time to forget our history. That is how we should grow. North Natchez and South Natchez High Schools were later consolidated into Natchez High School, and the district wants to consolidate yet again, combining its middle and high schools.

At the same time, no one wants to see yet another empty building in Natchez, no matter how old it is. Why then, did no one decide to show up?

Surely, we won’t hear any complaints, then, if the school buildings are closed.