Birks said one of the reasons Creed was selected for closure was because it has failed to meet its racial isolation quota for years and was regressing; whereas the state mandates schools must be at least 25 percent black and Hispanic or 25 percent non-black and non-Hispanic, 91.2 percent of the school is black and Hispanic. The state Department of Education has promised to impose sanctions of more than $100,000 if that quota is not met immediately, she said.
Jennifer Sarja, the lead English teacher at Creed, said the school essentially was being punished because multiracial students with some black or Hispanic parentage are counted out of the quota. It is “antebellum thinking,” she said.
Ariana Buckley, the school’s magnet resource teacher whose job it is to find students from the suburbs to enroll, said the school is a victim of demographics. Word of mouth has spread, she said, to Hamden, Ansonia and West Haven, but the students they attract are also black and brown.
Mai Bradley, mother of a sophomore, said her daughter felt unsafe at Wilbur Cross, but Creed gave her a new sense of safety.
On several ocassions, an entire sports team stood behind a player as he or she delivered testimony about the positive impact the school’s athletics program had on them, their studies and their self-esteem.
Moore, who graduated in 2009, said the school placed a heavy focus on its community. As a freshman, all students were made to sing for the class as an ice breaker, and immediately it was apparent to her that the students were capable of supporting and encouraging one another as a team.