Parents upset kids can’t attend East High School as it transitions to STEM-only

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Parents in Binghampton packed the Lester Community Center Friday evening to voice concerns about some changes at East High School.

Starting this year, the only new students East High School will enroll are those accepted into its new ninth grade STEM program (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

"I feel like it’s just like Jim Crow. They legally separating our students because they want the cream of the crop," said Jacquelyn Webb.

Webb said she was shocked to her learn her 15-year-old wouldn't be able to transfer to East as a tenth grader, and that he and other non-STEM students who live near East High School, will have to be bused to either Douglass High School or Melrose High School.

Shelby County Schools said the changes shouldn't come as any shock.

"Since last fall, we’ve been communicating with families, we’ve had about six or seven community meetings," said SCS spokeswoman Natalia Powers.

But Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland, who attended Friday's meeting, blasted the idea of busing students.

"It doesn’t make any money sense when you’re talking about having to take children all the way across town to another school," said Roland.

Current East High School students can remain at the school without enrolling in the STEM program.