JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Despite the chill and wind, energized citizens and activists from St. Louis County rallied on the front steps of the Capitol to raise awareness of the struggles facing Normandy School District today.
“We are here to make sure that Normandy gets its accreditation back,” said Debra Johnson, a community activist for Normandy High School. “We want to be sure that our kids can have a curriculum that allows them to function at a top level when they go to college. We would also like to involve the sports arenas to come in and contribute. Some of [the athletes] have even gone to Normandy High School. We want to keep the school open so that we can educate our children.”
Rep. Clem Smith, D-St. Louis County, said that the activists visited the Department of Education today as well.
“This group was supportive of the Normandy School District and I think they will continue to be until they are no longer here, like I am,” Smith said. “They went to the Department of Education earlier and if they had the same energy that they just had outside, it is a good thing.”
Smith explained that the Normandy School District lost its accreditation and because of the law, students are allowed to transfer to nearby accredited districts. The situation has caused an extensive funding problem for the school district.
The rally ended with a prayer and the crowd was led in a chant of “Normandy strong.”
“Advocates coming up here about an issue, whether you agree with it or not, is a good thing,” Smith said.
Inspired and energized by the rally, Johnson said, “Today is a beautiful day.”
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.