Why African-Americans In North Nashville Aren't Fighting High School Move To Bellevue | Nashville Public Radio

Why African-Americans In North Nashville Aren't Fighting High School Move To Bellevue

Jan 24, 2017

The Nashville school board votes tonight on whether to move Hillwood High School in West Meade, farther west, towards Bellevue. It’s something parents there have been begging for.

But Hillwood is complicated. In an effort to bring more racial balance to the school, 14 percent of its students are still bused in from a predominantly black part of town. But North Nashville hasn't had a lot to say about the move.

African-American leaders could be justified to protest students having to ride a bus to a more remote site in largely white Bellevue. But at a community meeting in North Nashville last week, Rev. Enoch Fuzz gave his blessing.

"Build it in Bellevue," he said, after giving a mini-sermon about how his community doesn't necessarily feel all warm and fuzzy about Hillwood.

The high school in its current form is a product of mandatory crosstown busing. It's in one of the wealthiest parts of town. But according to school district data, more than 90 percent of the people living nearby now send their kids to private schools.

Sure, moving the school to Bellevue would be a little farther away, but Councilman Ed Kindall says Bellevue parents have spent years pleading for a high school to call their own. And if they embrace the school, Kindall says the students being bused in also benefit.

"I think they have a better opportunity to feel a part of that school and a part of that community, even though they don't live there,"  he says.

There has been a noticeable lack of input from parents in North Nashville. At last week's community meeting, Tene Franklin was the only one. She is a state health worker and has a child in Metro schools.

Moving Hillwood a few miles farther out to a site owned by Hope Park Church isn't that big of a deal to Franklin. She calls it a "false option" and says North Nashville parents would rather talk about improving schools in their neighborhood.

"At the end of the day, staying at Hillwood or going to Hope Park is not going to do anything to improve the student performance," she says.

If the district can spend tens of millions of dollars moving a school, Franklin says perhaps some money should be redirected to boost North Nashville schools, which tend to be among the lowest performing in the city.