Detroit mom exposes overcrowded classrooms, with kids using milk crates to sit at desks

DETROIT (WXYZ) - When Domonique Hister asked her daughter Terri how her first day of school was at Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School in Detroit Public Schools, she got a shocking answer.

“My  daughter, on her first day of school she came home and said,  ‘There are 60 kids in my classroom.’ I thought she was exaggerating,” said Domonique.

This mom went to the school and says she saw it for herself. Sixty kids in her daughter’s sixth grade classroom.
 
She took a picture of the classroom. The kids desks are pushed up against the teacher’s desk, and kids are sitting everywhere.

“On counters, chairs, on the table by the teacher,” said Terri as she described where kids sit.

But that’s not all. As she walked by other classrooms she saw more overcrowding. She says in many classes kids are sitting on milk crates.

She took a picture of a first grade classroom. You can see kids sitting in the aisles between rows of desks on crates.

“Some kids need one-on-one attention. With this many kids, there is no possible way that you can teach. 60 kids!” said Domonique.

7 Action News reached out to the district. A statement said the Detroit Public Schools Community District is working to reorganize classes to address overcrowding.

"According to the current teacher contract, the district will make reasonable efforts at reorganizing classes according to what’s outlined if classes are above 40 in grades K-3; above 45 in grades 4-5 and above 60 in grades 6-12,” said the statement.

It is unclear if Terri will get relief from what she says is an over-crowded class.

“It hurts my heart that they think this is okay,” said her mom Domonique.

The district says there is a positive side to this.

"As the Detroit Public Schools Community District addresses this challenge, it should be noted that exceeding classroom sizes and schools near capacity is a positive indicator that the community is hopeful about our fresh start. We remain committed to consistent improvements as we strive to provide each student the best possible educational experience,”

Domonique says if they want to keep parents, they are going to need to address the class sizes she witnessed.

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