Bastrop's students started back to school Thursday, January 10, many at new locations, and some locals are concerned about the conditions of these schools, particularly Morehouse Jr. High.
Bishop Charles Bradford recently went out to view Morehouse Jr. High which now houses elementary students in grades one to six. What he saw was very discomforting to him.
“There are broken tiles and dirt,” he commented. “The school is old and some of the tiles might have asbestos in them.”
Pictures taken at the school show broken tiles in the ceiling and bathrooms as well as dirt on the floors. Some say there is even mold.
Bradford says he is concerned not only about the conditions of the schools, but about what he sees as issues in the school system.
“I'm concerned about the school issues and what's going on in our school system right now,” he said.
These concerns led to his lawsuit against the School Board and other officials. He felt the students would be hurt by the consolidation, and the suit was his attempt to stop it. He wanted a court to order the board not to vote but instead to form committees in the community to make a decision.
“The community should come together to come up with a solution,” he explained. “That's what I'm asking for in the suit.”
He believes that by forming committees with clergymen, businessmen, parents, and other community members, everyone can work together for the good of the students. He wants the community to have a say in the school system.
“We want to make come corrections and maybe have community input on how we can make things better,” Bradford said. “If the court orders the community to meet it would be in the best interest of justice.”
Bradford thinks that working together as a community will better education so that students are on equal footing with children of other countries. He thinks that better education will also bring more businesses into the community.
“We have to get our kids prepared to go out and compete on a global level,” he explained. “Education will make the whole economic wheel turn.”
Though Bradford feels the schools and the school system are in a bad state, he believes there can be change if the community unites. He feels that the future can be brighter.
“I am optimistic about the future,” he said. “Bastrop is a beautiful place.”
He hopes the new School Board will form committees and give the community more say in the education system.
With these changes he feels that Bastrop's education system, and Bastrop as a whole, can have a better, brighter future.