The U.S. Department of Justice doesn't believe Cleveland is complying with a 50-year old desegregation order. At a hearing, the department is advocating that the city merge its two high schools and two middle schools. Aimee Robinette, editor of the Cleveland Current, says less than half the students who attend Cleveland High and Margaret Green Junior High are white. There are virtually no white students attending Eastside High and D.M. Smith Middle. She says reaching a racial balance will be difficult.
"The children that I have talked to do not understand how putting these schools together will benefit them in any form or fashion." said Robinette.
The district hopes creating magnet schools will help. They also allow students to select the school they want to attend to encourage integration and prevent white flight. But that hasn't drawn white students to Eastside High and D.M. Smith Middle.
"You have Cleveland High School that has been open for over 100 years. You have Eastside High School, which has been open almost as long. Both of these schools have a lot of history, a lot of pride. You have never seen a homecoming until you have seen Eastside's Homecoming Week." said Robinette.
Keveon Taylor, who is black just graduated from Cleveland High, where he was student body president. He's outspoken about keeping the high schools separate because of their traditions.
"Things have always been done differently at Cleveland High as with at Eastside. There isn't a problem. Why try to fix something that isn't broken." said Taylor.
Aimee Robinette says if the high schools are combined, she hopes white families will not leave based on fear.