If you are a Rollins student, then you’ve probably heard of Fern Creek Elementary School and are aware that many of Fern Creek’s students are underprivileged children from the Parramore area. What you probably don’t know is that twenty percent of Fern Creek students are, in fact, homeless. For these students school is the best part of their day. Fern Creek offers an escape from violent poverty stricken neighborhoods and homeless shelters and makes the very difficult lives of these students a little easier and more fun. The Fern Creek community cannot be defined by wealth or social status. Every student at Fern Creek receives a quality education in a safe environment regardless of what neighborhood they come from.
Unfortunately for all the students, this special community could cease to exist in less than a year. The Orange County School Board has voted to establish two separate schools and close the doors of Fern Creek for good. One school will be located in the Parramore area and the other in Baldwin Park. Some have referred to this decision as re-segregation of elementary schools in Orange County, essentially unraveling the nurturing environment that Fern Creek has created for its students. It may be difficult to fully comprehend exactly how important Fern Creek is, but one thing is clear—Fern Creek is a very special place. It may be impossible to evaluate the impact Fern Creek will have on its students if Fern Creek shuts down, but without its existence, there will be no impact at all.
So while you might not know much about Fern Creek or truly understand its impact, it is easy to see that there is something very fundamentally wrong about closing a school like this. The students of Dr. Chong’s International Human Rights class will host an event on Thursday April 17 at Dave’s Down Under from 6 to 9 p.m. A student-made documentary will be shown to showcase children, families, and community sentiment regarding the closing of the school. Please come out to learn what you can do to ensure that the unique environment of Fern Creek is maintained!