School Underway in St. Louis City

St. Louis, MO – The first day of school in the city of St. Louis is underway. Thousands of students headed to class in a district that has been at the center of much public scrutiny this summer.

At Mitchell Elementary School, parents who walked their children to the school were helping them find their classrooms.

Principal Carol Powell says she was busy greeting parents and students, helping with last minute registration problems, and helping them find their rooms.

Powell also told KWMU that morale among students is very high and that books and supplies were ready for class this morning.

Earlier this morning, a couple hundred people who are upset with the interim management team running the district walked from north St. Louis to City Hall to protest. They're upset the district closed 16 schools and laid off 1,400 employees.

Presidential candidate Al Sharpton was among those in the protest, which was construed as a mock funeral for the 16 schools that closed. The groups urged parents to keep children home today. There were no arrests.

The district has long had a problem with low first-day attendance, which is also a partial factor in how much money the schools will get from the state.