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Thousands gather at candlelight vigil to stand as #OneLRSD

Organizers estimate close to 2,500 gathered to protest a plan that some say would re-segregate Little Rock's schools.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Thousands of people packed the front lawn of Central High School to stand up for Little Rock students and to protest a plan that some say would re-segregate Little Rock's schools.

Organizers estimate close to 2,500 parents, teachers, and students came together Wednesday for the candlelight vigil and to stand as #OneLRSD.

"We want a world class education for all the students," Colin Jorgensen said.

The state board of education's proposed plan to divide the district up and to separate the failing schools has caused outrage with weeks of meetings and protests. The board wants to create three separate categories of schools, the last category dedicated to failing schools and operated under different leadership.

Parents like Colin Jorgensen say this plan is segregation and sets us back 62 years.

"No matter how you slice and dice it, the way that they evaluate the schools and the way that they come up with the grades A-F, it is going to break down by socio-demographic lines. The 'F' schools are going to be south of 630. They're going to be black and brown students," he said. "And the 'A' schools are going to be the West Little Rock schools and north of Cantrell."

Educator Kelley Pedro said she feels the state board and the governor are not putting the students first.

"I'm struck by what seems to be a total lack of compassion and empathy. A total lack of respect for the parents and the teachers," Pedro said.

Eighth-grader Briggs Hubener said he does not think it's fair that different people should be under different leadership.

“I don’t want that. I want all of us to be equal, so we have an equal opportunity at life," Hubener said.

Jorgensen said everyone at Wednesday's vigil will continue to stand as #OneLRSD until full local control is returned.

"Provide the resources and the help and the assistance to the schools that are struggling, without carving them out and setting them aside and treating them separately," he said.

The state board of education meets again Thursday to vote on its reconstitution plan for the Little Rock School District.

The board has another meeting Friday where it will accept public comment.

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