St. George

The Reveille has updated the cover photo of St. George due to the mistaken boundaries. St. George Town is north of campus off of Acadian Thruway on Broussard Street. 

Turning St. George into a city to create its own school district will do more than racially divide the residents of East Baton Rouge Parish. This sinister tactic, one that mimics gerrymandering, could eventually have a detrimental effect on future students pursuing a K-12 education. 

It is without a doubt that this proposed transitional law stems from perpetual racism, even though Brown vs. Board of Education banned the racial segregation of American schools 65 years ago.

The majority of minority residents inhabit north Baton Rouge, while many wealthy white residents live in the southern part of the city -- the St. George area. While supporters of this change are focused on race and money, residents are focused on education, including those living in the St. George area. 

Spring Hill College biochemistry junior Brooke Evans' family is one of many who live in the St. George area and will be impacted by this inconsiderate law. 

Evans and her family first heard about the redistricting of St. George when she was a junior at Baton Rouge Magnet High School. 

"The more that we looked into it, the more [my family] realized how devastating it'll be," Evans said. 

Evans' parents are concerned for her two siblings, who might not fully receive the same education she did. 

"[St. George doesn't] have a school system that is adequately set up to receive the income of students in that area," Evans said. "So, regardless of how much money or time or energy would get poured into that system, it would not have been to the same standard as the system I was currently enrolled in." 

Evans said, if this law passes, her siblings will have to get grandfathered in, so they can continue attending Baton Rouge Magnet High School, which isn't a smooth process. 

"[This would be] really painful for us," Evans said. 

Evans said that although her family has a high and steady income, they are financially conscious. It would be a toll on her family if both siblings attend private schools in the incorporated district. She is sure other St. George families who kids attend schools outside the area feel the same. 

This law will not only affect some St. George residents but families outside the area with children who attend schools that won't be apart of their current school district as well. As a result, students will have to attend schools closer to their homes that may not be as sufficient as the one they currently attend. 

Evans said she hopes the law doesn't pass because it has the wrong intentions and will have unfortunate effects. It is blatantly gerrymandered to include some of the wealthiest parts of Baton Rouge which is going to collapse the city's economy. She said the law is very racist and classist. 

"To separate us by a city division is something that is so inherently wrong," Evans said. "It's just going to create worse divides, worse racial tension than we already have. It's going to backtrack on what we have been working for and what I'm really hoping to see Baton Rouge be." 

Evans said if we don't give young people the opportunity to interact with those different than them, they won't be exposed to new ideas, different cultures and other ethical backgrounds in an academic setting. 

"It's vital to understanding what goes on beyond Baton Rouge," Evans said. "It's also extraordinarily helpful for college and being able to interact in a workplace where not everyone thinks like you." 

I urge eligible voters to cast their votes during early voting on Sept. 28 or on the official voting day of Oct. 12. The educational future of East Baton Rouge Parish students are in your hands. 

Jasmine is a 21-year-old mass communication junior from Denham Springs, Louisiana. 

*A previous version of this column incorrectly stated the Evans children would be forced to attend St. Joseph Academy if the St. George vote succeeded. This error has since been corrected. The Evans children would have the option to attend any public school. Additionally, St. Joseph Academy is not within the proposed St. George area.

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