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Student Transfer Debate Heats Up

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In a tension-charged atmosphere, parents of white transfer students showed up at the Mumford campus this morning demanding their children be admitted. But saying they had no choice, Mumford administrators turned the students away.

Parents are angry, confused, and shocked that their right to choose which school their children attend has been taken away.

" It's got to be illegal to do segregation. I mean this is 2005, this is reverse discrimination. That's exactly what it is," said one upset parent.

Mumford ISD superintendent, Pete Bienski, tried to explain why white transfer students who live in Hearne can no longer attend Mumford schools.

" All of the white students will have to go back to Hearne. This is the ruling that was issued," said Bienski.

It's because a federal judge says it violates a desegregation law and disrupts the racial balance at Hearne schools. But parents see things in a different light.

Nearly all of the parents at the meeting say they do not want their children to attend school in Hearne. Citing reasons ranging from safety issues to academic performance standards. Some parents praised the efforts of Mumford's school administration.

" They stay in touch with the parents and the kids want to go to school. They enjoy school here. They call, they care, they're good," said one parent.

Some parents even sought the help of District 17 Congressman, Chet Edwards. Edwards says there is little he can do to help right now, but that he would be glad to meet with both sides.

" What I'd to work on in the long term is to support all our schools to see that our public schools our public schools are so good across Texas and our country that families wouldn't have an incentive to pull their children out of one school district and into another," said Edwards.

Parents and students who were booted out of Mumford schools signed a petition and wrote letters and plan to send them along with the legal paperwork for the appeal process. But until then, the school many students and parents say they have come to love, is no longer an option.

Parents and Mumford school district officials plan to meet again Friday morning. Mumford's attorneys hope to have a judgement for the appeal of the emergency stay before Hearne starts school next Wednesday.

In the meantime, the Texas Education Administration says they've assigned a representative to monitor the Mumford school district. This conservator has the power to approve or disapprove any action of the principals, superintendent, or the school board.