Neelsville Middle students speak out about school nicknamed 'prison on the hill'

A group of students spoke during the public comment period of the Montgomery County Council meeting Wednesday night, pleading for the funding to fix their schools.

The biggest focus is on Neelsville Middle school in Germantown, which they refer to as the ‘prison on the hill.’

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The school took the spotlight over the past few months as the Board of Education was making decisions on new school boundaries because many parents did not want their children re-directed there. 

Several Neelsville students said they have been asking for a new school since 2015 and it’s fallen on deaf ears.

 The school isn’t slated to be rebuilt until at least 2024, so these kids are standing up for future students coming up behind them. They raised concerns about the outdated, narrow hallways that become packed during change of class and faulty conditions including broken ceiling tiles. 

Eighth-grader Sonia Thanicatt told the council, “We don’t have an elevator to accommodate students with crutches or wheelchairs. We have a very long, winding, dangerous ramp that isn’t in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

“The infrastructure of our school is so somber that we have been mistaken for a juvenile detention center,” said eighth-grader Brianna Akuamoah-Boateng. 

Public comments continue Thursday. 

The council is considering a $4.2 billion, 6-year capital budget. 

The next step is committee meetings with a final vote expected in May.