Parents, students rally to save their Carrboro charter school

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- There was an impassioned appeal outside the state Board of Education Monday.

A few dozen parents and students at Pace Academy in Carrboro spoke out to stop the state from shutting down the charter school.

The Board of Education revoked their charter permit for next year. Now, the school's dedicated fans are fighting back.

"Stop the war against Pace," parents, teachers, and students of Pace Academy shouted that message loudly on Monday outside the State Board of Education in Raleigh.

In May, the school's charter permit was revoked for second time in two years and supporters are fighting to have it reinstated.

"How are you going to close down our school," asked a current student. "That's our only chance to succeed."

Pace Academy caters to kids who may have run out of traditional schooling options. Eighteen percent of students at Pace, for example, are pregnant.

Rising senior Gracee Rossie told the crowd, "I was on a path in the past, being suspended every day, fighting, and I wanted to thank Pace for putting me on a straighter path and leading me to a better future."

The school also serves kids with special needs.

"The teachers at Pace Academy get my son's autism," one parent said. "They understand how to teach him."

Shelton McCray, mother of another recent Pace graduate, said her son wasn't succeeding at a traditional school and found his place at Pace.

"John didn't fit into public school. I also paid for private school. But guess what? John didn't fit into that school," said McCray. "But then came along Pace. My savior."

McCray said her son is now working at Home Depot and is going to Wake Tech Community College next year.

The state says it's "well documented" that "Pace failed to maintain accurate and reliable student records and failed to comply with its obligation to provide a free, appropriate public education for students with disabilities."

However, for the people singing the school's praises, nothing could be farther from the truth.

"This school is special," said one parent with tears in her eyes. "What kind of community do we want to be where a school like this gets closed?"

No one from the state would answer ABC11's questions on the record, siting an ongoing court case.

The matter goes before a special judge with the Office of Administrative Hearing on Tuesday.

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