Last week, in response to the NAACP’s complaint to the Office of Civil Rights about racial resegregation following construction of two middle schools on the periphery of Knox County, a man who should know better asked, “What are they mad about?”
The late Diane Jablonski quotes Sir Edmund Burke: “If you forget history, you are doomed to repeat it.” Last April the former school board member sent me her recollections of the school rezoning in 1991. Let’s review:
All right, I’ll say what a lot of folks are thinking.
The proposed Gibbs Middle School is a terrible idea. The only people who want it are Gibbs families and the politicians seeking their support. The school is expensive, unnecessary and will force future county commissioners to raise your property taxes.
The Gibbs community has advocated for a middle school for so long that a second generation is now being bused to Holston Middle. “Twenty-four years is too long to wait,” said Knox County Commissioner Ed Brantley.
He and fellow at-large commissioner, Bob Thomas, hosted an “Ed and Bob” neighborhood meeting last week at Henry’s Deli on Tazewell Pike.
Gibbs area residents have battled for 20-plus years for a new middle school in the community. During that time a brand-new elementary school was built at Gibbs and Holston Middle School, where Gibbs-area kids are zoned, was remodeled.
Gibbs residents showed up across Knox County to lobby for a middle school when Superintendent Jim McIntyre held public meetings. No other community has pushed so hard for so long. It’s safe to say, folks who don’t live in Gibbs are puzzled.