Beeber Middle School spared from closing

Posted: April 17, 2013

Two days before the School Reform Commission was scheduled to vote on closing Beeber Middle School, parent Katherine Stokes' phone rang.

Beeber was spared, Stokes and others in the community said.

It's been a roller-coaster ride for the school, which was not on the Philadelphia School District's initial closing list, but got put on a revised list, along with M.H. Stanton Elementary School in North Philadelphia.

Officials informed the Beeber community Tuesday that it was being taken off the closing list. The M.H. Stanton vote will presumably still happen at Thursday's SRC meeting.

Beeber's community mounted a fierce defense of their school, whose students would have been sent to nearby Overbrook High School.

At the formal school closing hearing for Beeber, SRC members raised questions about the logistics of moving middle school students to a high school. And they seemed wary of a staff plan to force Beeber students to go to Overbrook.

If the only path for Beeber students was Overbrook, that would be a "huge step backwards," SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos said at the meeting, in terms of choice for families.

Stokes, whose daughter is in seventh grade, had major concerns about not having a choice about where to send her daughter in the fall.

And she was also afraid for her daughter's safety. Those concerns heightened on Thursday, when 17-year-old Overbrook student Bernard Scott was shot and killed on his way home from school.

On Thursday, Stokes said, she called the SRC office every half hour.

"I said, 'What are you going to tell me when that happens to my child?'"

There was no immediate comment from the school district.

Contact Kristen Graham at 215-854-5146, or on Twitter @newskag. Read her blog, "Philly School Files," at

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