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District Parent Coordinating Council got its meeting

The District Parent Coordinating Council got what it wanted Wednesday night without anyone getting arrested or anyone having to camp out all night in front of the Buffalo Board of Education’s City Hall office.

Dozens of parents threatened to hold a protest in front of Room 801 to force Superintendent Pamela Brown and School Board members to meet with them about the district’s failure to provide all students with a quality education.

The group called it an act of civil disobedience, and parents were prepared to camp out at City Hall even if it meant they would be arrested.

But just before the School Board meeting was adjourned at about 10 p.m., school officials agreed to meet with the parents at 3 p.m. next Wednesday.

The protest was orchestrated by the DPCC, which has been upset because the district failed to find spots for about 1,500 students who requested transfers out of low-performing schools, as they are entitled by law.

“We want to force them to arrest us with the intention of highlighting that they’re breaking the law and no one’s arresting them,” Samuel L. Radford III, the group’s president, said before the planned protest. “The only people who face consequences now for breaking the law are parents.”

Even as parents packed the Common Council Chambers for the protest, the board signed off on another plan that some parents say will condemn even more students to low-performing schools.

The board approved a controversial plan to merge the former Pinnacle Charter School with Harvey Austin School. Board members also voted to develop a new curriculum for the merged school with the intent to open it as a new school in the 2015-16 school year.

The district took control of Pinnacle last August after the state closed it because of poor performance. Parents now say that the district promised them it would keep all of the students together, eventually moving them into a new school in good standing with the state.

Instead, the district is moving them into Harvey Austin, another school that has consistently failed to meet state standards.

The decision comes about a month after board members originally rejected the plan, which was presented to them just two days after parents were notified of the proposal.

Parents from Pinnacle and Harvey Austin were among the crowd of about 100 people who gathered in front of City Hall before the meeting for the DPCC protest.

There were also parents from Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute, which the district is phasing out next year, a plan that will displace 400 students.