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'I wanted to be educated' | An ABSS family chooses to homeschool their child after rezoning concerns

The family wants their child to continue at Southern High School's Future Farmers of America Program instead of a newly launched program at Southeast High School.

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — For the 2023-2024 school year, Alamance-Burlington Schools rezoned the district and it's caused some concerns.

The purpose of the partial rezoning was to ease overcrowding within the district and grow the new Southeast Alamance High School.

The district allowed rising seniors to choose if they wanted to stay or leave Southern High and underclassmen got reassigned to the new schools. According to ABSS,  if you did not want to attend your re-assigned school you could appeal. There is a criteria you have to meet and most of it surrounds an exception for disabilities or extenuating circumstances concerning home life.

The Griffith family moved to Alamance County for their son to be a part of Southern High's award-winning Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. The Griffiths said they appealed the rezoning process and got denied. 

"If you ask me, I've been taken rightfully out of the school I deserve to go to," Wiley Griffith said.

He said he comes from generations of farmers. For his freshman year, Griffith said he was actively a part of the FFA program at Southern High School. Due to rezoning, he was sent to the new Southeast High School with an FFA program just getting started.

"I told them, I did not want to go to the school. I felt I did not belong. It was not just where I wanted to be educated," Griffith said. 

No, he is homeschooled, but he and his family are fighting for him to attend Southern. 

The district said they had about 100 appeals but they have rules that only allow students to transfer if they are disabled or for extenuating circumstances. Wiley's mom said her son's collegiate goals should be enough. 

"It was important to us that we found an FFA program to try to help get him to college because I can't pay for him to go to a university. We wanted to try and make sure that we did that and found one that he was involved in heavily and then it was taken away," Leigha Griffith said. 

ABSS said all their schools have similar programs but Griffith questions the quality.

"There was one little classroom; no trophies, no awards, no FFA anything," he said.

The district said once the appeal is denied, there aren't really any more options left for families.

"If the board denied any appeals, that sort of is the end of the road. That's where we are with those appeals. There are no more appeals hearing at this point and we're back in school; we're looking forward to a very successful year and we want that for all of our students," Les Atkins said.

The district said they are confident in the processes of the rezoning policy.

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