DeKalb County halts plans for Marine school

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ATLANTA – The DeKalb County school district has put plans on hold to open a military academy in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps.

The school district was unable to reach an agreement with the Marines for opening the state's first public military academy, district spokesman Dale Davis said in a news release Friday.

"An initiative of this magnitude requires a significant commitment from all entities involved," Davis said in the statement. "We will continue our discussions in hope of reaching a mutual agreement that is in the best interest of both institutions."

He declined further comment until a school board meeting scheduled for Monday.

Superintendent Crawford Lewis did not immediately return a call for comment. U.S. Marine Corps spokeswoman 1st Lt. Joy Crabaugh also did not return a call for comment.

The 100,000-student district in suburban Atlanta planned to open the school this fall with 150 cadets, eventually expanding it to 650 students.

The school would have functioned like a typical high school, except students would be required to wear Marine ROTC uniforms rather than street clothes and begin each day with a military formation and inspection.

The proposed school has drawn protests and threats of lawsuits from parents and community members who say it would be a recruiting tool for the military. Another protest is scheduled to be held Monday before the school board meets.

Community member Tim Franzen, who has been leading the demonstrations, said he is encouraged that plans for the school have been halted but is still worried the project could be revived.

"We're not out of the woods yet," said Franzen, an Atlanta resident. "The board has had to deal with mounting resistance with the project from different directions. It's created tremendous amount of pressure not only for the board of education, but also for the district and the Marines."


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