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Mayor Wu drops controversial plan to move O'Bryant School to West Roxbury

Boston drops plan to move O'Bryant School from Roxbury to West Roxbury
Boston drops plan to move O'Bryant School from Roxbury to West Roxbury 02:32

BOSTON - It was an announcement the John D. O'Bryant school community was not expecting. That the Roxbury exam school would be staying in its location and not moving to what would be a newly renovated campus in West Roxbury.

"The community was able to get together and stand for something they believe in," said Rim Tiguite, an O'Bryant student.

Community outcry is what led Boston Mayor Michelle Wu to drop the controversial plan. It means for now the O'Bryant stays put while renovation plans will go forward at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School next door.

"I hope the way forward is not to pit Madison Park against the O'Bryant or say the O'Bryant won't get anything because we did not agree to move to West Roxbury," said parent Liza Caguas-McAllister, whose son is an eighth grader at the school.

The mayor has left the O'Bryant's future an open question writing in an email to families, "After analyzing many sites in Roxbury and other neighborhoods, we could not find an alternative location to accommodate the expansion and student experience that had been envisioned."

City councilor Julia Mejia sees an opportunity in the decision. "The mayor and her team are doing the right thing by putting it on pause and not moving in that direction. Now we have to figure out what direction to move in, so no one feels left behind," said Mejia.

The O'Bryant move was proposed last June as the start of an ambitious expansion plan for the school in need of its own renovations. But many were concerned about few transportation options to a West Roxbury campus and moving the diverse school to a largely white neighborhood. "If we get rid of diversity, we lose who we are as O'Bryant," said student Jared Perkins.

It was a civics lesson for students who attended a city council hearing with a message for their city leaders. "What's next for students. It can't be an end it has to keep going," said student Sarah Dyer.

Mayor Wu says the O'Bryant and West Roxbury campus will be included in discussions about a long-term facilities plan for Boston Public Schools that is ongoing. But there are no specifics about any options the city has in mind.   

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