Parents protest at Cage Elementary amid sweeping changes at HISD.
Parents protest at Cage Elementary amid sweeping changes at HISD. Credit: Dominic Anthony Walsh/Houston Public Media

Around 50 community members held a protest at Cage Elementary School after classes got out Wednesday, spurred by rumors of pending school mergers.

Parents at Cage Elementary school and the adjoining Project Chrysalis Middle School have vocally opposed changes taking place on their campus this year, including new classroom policies, like scripted lessons. They also spoke out against what they see as retaliation against teachers by district leadership — two were fired earlier this month.

Rumors emerged Tuesday that HISD has plans to merge Project Chrysalis with Navarro Middle School and move De Zavala Elementary School students into Cage Elementary next week, which the district denies.

Parents are calling for more transparency and accountability from district leadership.

“They’ve taken us over, and they were not elected to do so, so we’d like to understand what they’re trying to do,” said Thomas Lopez, a parent at Cage. “If they’re not going to be elected board members, we’d like to be able to vote on the agenda that they have.”

A spokesperson for the district said the schools will not be merged, and described the rumors as intentional lies designed to “scare families and divide the HISD community.”

Both Cage and Project Chrysalis have seen sweeping reforms this school year, despite the fact that both schools typically achieve high performance on state standards.

Parents and students say they don’t like the changes, and they feel unheard by the state-appointed leaders.

“I’m here because I feel really strongly that what’s happening is terrible,” said parent Diana Candida. “It’s terrible for the students, the teachers and the community at large.”

Candida has a child at a different school but said she showed up to the protest to express solidarity.