The State Board of Education has voted 5-1 to unaccredit the underachieving St. Louis School District , replacing the elected St. Louis School Board with a three-member transition board that will take control on June 15th.
About 200 teachers, students, and staff members from St. Louis Schools were bused to Jefferson City for the State Board meeting. Some carried signs reading "No Takeover," while others wore shirts with the message, "Don’t Stop Our Future." Still others wore shirts with the slogan, "Don’t Slay Our Future," a reference to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and his concerns with the elected school board.
The crowd was orderly in the early part of the meeting, but that all changed when several members of the crowd started shouting, "No Takeover!" and started marching toward Board members. Capitol Police tried to restore order until one of the protesting teenagers shoved an officer, then ran out of the room and out of the Truman State Office Building with police in pursiut. The young man was apprehended, but not before being subdued with the use of pepper mace. As he was being handcuffed, the teenager yelled, "My eyes are burning. I got atshma!"
The teenager was taken into custody and handed over to juvenile authorities. Chief Todd Hurt of the Capitol Police Department says the boy received medical attention, but Hurt could not provide further details on the teenager’s condition.
Concerns have been expressed, by students and teachers, that students’ chances of getting accepted by colleges and universities will be harmed by the fact they will be graduating from an unaccredited school district. Education Commissioner Kent King has rejected that claim, saying, "We’ve talked to several colleges … and we can’t find any place where a college has an issue on that."
The Board also chose its nominee to serve as chief executive officer of the transition board. He is Richard Sullivan, Chairman of McBride & Son Homes in the St. Louis area. The nomination must be approved by the State Senate. Two other members of this board must be appointed. One will be chosen by the Mayor of St. Louis and the other will be selected by the President of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.