People gather to protest possible changes to Portland's Pioneer - KPTV - FOX 12

People gather to protest possible changes to Portland's Pioneer School

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Parents and teachers rallied on Thursday to protest the potential closure of Pioneer School in southeast Portland.

The group gathered outside of Nike where a chairperson for the school board works as an executive.

Pioneer School serves special education students from kindergarten through high school, but a controversial proposal is looking to move the students to two other buildings - Applegate and Rice.

The move would make room for Access Academy, which is a program for talented and gifted students.

Those protesting the move say closing the school will hurt the children who need it most.

"This is really serious, and these are our most vulnerable kids who don't have a voice. So we are their voice," said Laramie Babbitt, special education teacher at Pioneer. "We will travel from southeast Portland to Beaverton at rush hour to be their voice because they are that important, and this is that important."

Portland Public Schools sent a statement to FOX 12 regarding Thursday's rally, saying: 

 "We are in the process of opening two new middle schools in an effort to provide more equitable and comprehensive education to historically underserved students. This has caused some programs, including Pioneer, to be relocated to alternative sites. We are committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming learning environment that takes into account the unique needs of all of our students. We understand there are concerns about the move, and we are working hard to address them."

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