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Parents rush to find alternate schools after charter facility announces closing

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Heartbreak came to families after HIM by HER Charter Collegiate School for the Arts announced Wednesday it will be closing.

Parents have a few weeks to find a somewhere else for their children to go to school and fear their families are losing a much-needed resource and safe space. Parents say the school reflected the neighborhood, and, for some, switching will be just about too much to bear.

News 8 first reported the Jan. 20 closing on Wednesday.

One parent, Shelle Terrell told News 8 on Thursday that families had no indication the closing was coming. “I drive every day from Noblesville into the city to make sure that he can be educated around people that look like him and share a lot of our cultural beliefs, and it was hard enough finding that organization, that program.”

Terrell’s son attends fourth grade at the school. “It was just a place where you felt safe and comfortable, and you wanted your kids to go.”

The school, located in the former Forest Manor Middle School that closed in 2009, has more than 200 students. School officials say enrollment factored into the tough decision.

Terrell says the school only occupies a small portion of the building on East 32nd Street just west of Emerson Avenue on the city’s east side. A recent fundraiser had a low turnout.

“I really feel like we could’ve come together as a community to overcome that financial situation,” Terrell said.

Terrell says she’s narrowed down some backup options but knows it’s going to be hard finding a place that feels safe and like home.

Montana Fitzpatrick is chief executive officer of Fresh Start Resource Indy. Fitzpatrick says mentorship and motivation outreach are needed for many students in the community. “I brought the program to the school because, in that area, it’s poverty going on over there. It is not a lot going on over there as far as mentorship.”

Fresh Start Resource Indy provides a couple of programs for youths, and Fitzpatrick is helping to find new places for the students to go to school. “It’s sad that a lot of these kids are going to miss out on the school. It’s right here in our community.”

To help with the transition, the school will hold an enrollment fair from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 6 and 14.

Harry Dunn, one of the co-founders, is a former homicide detective with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. The school received support initially from former Pacers player George Hill.