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Protesters show support for struggling high schools

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Mike Desmond/wbfo news
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Supporters of East and Lafayette High Schools are demanding State Education Commissioner John King come to their schools to see they are succeeding, not failing.

The commissioner has threatened to close both buildings because their test scores and graduation rates are poor. The school district is having trouble preparing a turnaround plan that Albany will approve.

"I want to invite you (Commissioner King) to come to Buffalo," said Justo Gonzalez II during his address to the gathering. Gonzalez is co-pastor of Pilgrim-St. Luke and El Nuevo Camino churches.

"You cannot dictate a quick pace when it's convenient for you and it devastates us."

The rally was sponsored by the faith-based group Voice-Buffalo.

Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown is in Albany today along with staff members trying to finalize the  turnaround applications for East and Lafayette and two other schools.

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Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news
The Thursday rally at Lafayette High School was organized by Voice Buffalo.

If the city system comes up with a plan Albany will approve, some students from the two high schools will start taking vocational courses in suburban Erie One Boces.

Both high schools will be run by Johns Hopkins University.