One Girl's Fight to Stay at Ben Milam Elementary

What's the difference in one block?

For 12 year-old Cheyanne Honrea it's the difference between attending a school where she's gone for the past four years or transferring to a new one.

Last year Cheyanne's family moved from a home on Blankenship to a house just two blocks away on McCutchen, but that home is in a different school zone.

According to Jesse Thomas, Ben Milam Elementary's principal, Cheyanne's family then filed for a transfer to continue going Ben Milam.

She and her two brothers were allowed to finish out the year at Ben Milam, but this year, problems arose.

"We were operating under the assumption that the affidavit that was signed said that they were residing at an address that was in Milam's attendance zone," he said.

That address is Cheyanne's grandfather's home.

School officials say that's a "false-residence" and told Cheyanne's mother she would have to move her children to Cunningham Elementary.

"She is not taking it well. She cried a lot and that is when we decided to do something about it," Cheyanne's mother, Amanda Brown, said.

Cheyanne and her friends wore hand made T-shirts rallying for her to stay at Ben Milam and she asked others to sign a petition.

Thomas says he admires the Cheyanne's determination fighting for her cause but the problem is more complex.

"We are talking about 3 students and 300. I am an advocate for those three kids, but I am an advocate for those 597 kids that are outside of that family too," he said.

"I raise my kids to, when you make friends with someone they are like family, so in a sense I feel like they are pulling her away from her family," she said.

Cheyanne's mother says if they cannot petition to keep her daughter at Ben Milam she plans to look for a new home in the school's zone so that her daughter can attend the school for her last year.

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