Students still waiting for high school placement

March 25, 2010 4:22:34 PM PDT
Erdene Armstrong and her son, Justin, are not alone in feeling on edge about the delay in receiving Justin's high school acceptance letter.

"I feel disappointed right now that they're not going to come and they're delayed, and it's very stressful for me and for all my other classmates," Justin said.

After an emotional public hearing, about plans for closing 19 city schools, opposition to the closings led to a lawsuit over the procedures used by officials who made the decision.

"Why should they suffer because of what's going on with the Department of Education?" parent Felix Martinez wondered.

The judge hearing the lawsuit ordered that letters of admission to all high schools be delayed, pending a resolution in the case.

"I'm worried because I don't know what school I'm going to go to and I just want to know ahead of time," Nicole Martinez said.

The city teachers union is among the lead plaintiffs in the case, and its leadership stands by the decision to file the lawsuit.

"We wouldn't have filed the lawsuit if the Department of Education had not broken the law, but at the same time, the concern that we have for all the students throughout the city, just as we have for those students in those closing schools, is that the court needs to come to a finding quickly," Michael Mulgrew, teachers' union president, said.

Many of the 80-thousand families, waiting for word, have attended high school fairs as part of the process.

"To come to find out, when you get to the point where you're supposed to receive the letters, that you don't have the letters, that it's been delayed because of a lawsuit, it's just not right," Erdene Armstrong said.

The Department of Education says students have been matched with high schools, but that could change, based on the court ruling. The families will not know a thing until the case is settled.