What’s at stake
Times Photographer Dirk Shadd spent a year following the families of children who have attended south St. Petersburg’s resegregated schools. Here’s a window into the lives of some of the children we interviewed for Part 3 of our series.
Oct. 17, 2015
James Sampson had a dozen different substitutes last year at Melrose Elementary. They taught more than a quarter of his school year. Amid that instability James struggled to learn. He could barely read or do math.
James struggled with behavior and was suspended. He spent the suspension watching TV at home, missing class time.
This school year, James switched to Campbell Park. His mother walks her children and other students to the school every day. First, she helps her children get ready in the morning.
Kailel Rohlsen-Jackson was the only student at Melrose Elementary to pass the state’s fifth-grade math exam in 2014. That year Melrose was ranked the worst elementary school in Florida by the state Department of Education. He now attends Bay Point Middle School in St. Petersburg.
Zariyah and Zaniyah Durant
Zariyah Durant, 10, and her sister, Zaniyah, 8, used to attend Maximo Elementary. Their mother, Lakita Simmons, said she was concerned about behavior problems and the number of substitute teachers. Zaniyah was kicked in the face while a teacher tried to restrain another child, Simmons said.
Last year Simmons switched them to a private school, The School of the Immaculata, where she says the girls are happier. Here’s a typical day in their new school.
After school, Zaniyah and Zariyah go to karate class at the Sanderlin Center in St. Petersburg.
Designed by Martin Frobisher. Contact Dirk Shadd at [email protected].