A bill to keep a school that serves at-risk youth in LeDroit Park temporarily open failed by one vote.

It was an emotional vote. The school is one of four alternative schools in D.C. and the only one to serve middle schoolers. It’s a school where a majority of students are black in one of the city’s most gentrified neighborhoods. 

The Washington Met students who have fought hard since November to stop their school from closing were also present for the Council vote on Tuesday at the Wilson Building. Even after the school denied field trip requests to venture to Pennsylvania Avenue NW, a few students showed up so they could advocate for themselves. When lawmakers didn’t pass emergency legislation At-Large Councilmember Robert White spearheaded, some students left in tears. 

Seven of 12 councilmembers backed the bill, which needed eight to pass. The nays were At-Large Councilmember David Grosso, who chairs the education committee, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, and Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd

The vote arrived about two weeks after the Bowser administration announced it would close the school for under enrollment and poor academic performance. “The reality is student data doesn’t indicate that that’s a good place for them and so it’s hard to make the argument that it’s a good place,” says DC Public Schools Chancellor Dr. Lewis Ferebee. But some students and their advocates argue DCPS didn’t invest enough in the school for students to succeed. 

This argument played out between councilmembers during their weekly breakfast meeting ahead of the vote. Now onlookers worry school closures will become more frequent (Ferebee says they won’t) and wonder who gets the school building when Washington Met closes at the end of the academic year (it’s unclear now). Many are also concerned that students will drop out of school altogether because many have seen too many transfers already and are discouraged.

—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? Email  


CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • D.C. Burger King employee says she got reduced work hours after she complained about workplace homophobia. [DCist]

  • One in four home searches in the D.C. region originate from outside the area and less than half of searches were done by current residents, per Zillow analysis.  [UrbanTurf]

  • Should the public pay a dime for access to court records? These three nonprofits think PACER should be free, so they sued. [Post]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips?

  • The mayors love Mike Bloomberg. [Citylab]

  • How much does a $72,500 salary get you in D.C.? [WAMU]

  • Amazon’s first HQ2 land purchase is a 6.2-acre site that cost $154.95 million. [WBJ]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips?

  • Great Wall Szechuan House is for sale as owners weigh their options following a kitchen accident in April that left Chef Yuan Chen with severe burns. [WCP]

  • This fancy new cocktail bar microwaves its drinks and serves Jell-O shots. [Washingtonian]

  • There’s a fundraiser for a bartender who was severely injured in a scooter accident. [PoPville]

  • Taco Bell Cantina is coming to Columbia Heights whether you like it or not. [WTOP]

  • How does the new Old Bay hot sauce stack up? [Post]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips?

  • Workshop space The Lemon Collective will close its brick-and-mortar location at the end of the month. [DCist]

  • Get your Hamilton tickets on March 9. [Washingtonian]

  • National Symphony Orchestra cancels its three upcoming performances in China because of the coronavirus outbreak. [WAMU]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips?

  • Alex Ovechkin scored another hat trick, essentially beating the Los Angeles Kings by himself in the Caps’ 4-2 win. He is now only two goals away from being the eighth player in NHL history to score 700 career goals. [Russian Machine Never Breaks

  • Wizards forward Dāvis Bertāns, the “Latvian Laser,” will participate in the three-point contest during the NBA All-Star weekend. And while he’s been rumored to be in trade discussions, the Wizards reportedly plan to keep Bertānsand re-sign him this summer. [Post]

  • Bradley Beal, who was recently snubbed from the All-Star team, gave a tour of Howard University to about 50 high school students, earning praise from his fellow players, including LeBron James. [NBC Sports Washington]

  • 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and former Washington NFL tight end Logan Paulsen will handle radio broadcasting duties for the DC Defenders of the XFL. [106.7 The Fan]

MAKE PLANS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips?

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