Moms present petition calling for change at IPS high school

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A group of mothers went before the Indianapolis Public Schools board to present a petition calling for change at their neighborhood school.

The petition, with 500 signatures, was circulated by the women with help from the group Stand for Children. It calls for the community to come together to help change John Marshall Community High School on the far east side.

LaToya Tahirou led the charge. Her daughter, who is about to start 6th grade, will start at John Marshall in a year, but she hasn't decided whether to send her there or find another option.

"I would like it to improve and my daughter have an opportunity to go there because it’s directly up the street, it’s in our neighborhood," Tahirou said.

Krystale Massey, who is also on board, actually decided not to send her daughter to John Marshall a year ago, instead putting her in Lawrence Township Schools and driving her back and forth every day.

"I attended John Marshall, which at the time back then it was actually a really good school, but I knew now that it was not going to meet the needs that I wanted for her," Massey said.

The school, which has been rated a "D" or "F" for the past decade, has long been on the district's radar. In fact, it's one of several high schools that could soon be changed. Next month, a task force will present a plan for 7-12 schools, that could move 7th and 8th graders into dedicated middle schools or to K-8 model schools.

Massey and Tahirou said they want to rally the community to be a part of the change and become better involved in their kids' education, as well as their neighborhood schools. The district took their contact information after they spoke at the meeting.

"I’m going to continue to be a part of it and make sure that our kids get good schools," Massey said.

"Like they say, it takes a village to raise a child. Everybody has to come together and get on one accord because at the end of the day, these children are being failed," Tahirou said.

IPS will hold a public meeting to discuss the future of John Marshall Community High School at 6 p.m. at the school on August 10.