School celebrates unity at Civility in the Park

Students at Furr HS kicked off their summer with a fun event to promote unity, and a camera crew from Spain was there to film all the action for a documentary.

Civility in the Park, now in its second year, took place at Herman Brown Park Pavilion, 400 Mercury Dr., on Sat., June 1 and students said it means a lot to them.

“We do this to enjoy the community and show the community that their local high school can give back and give them a fun summer,” said Taylor Young, a junior at Furr HS. “I really love it. It makes everybody feel warm and happy inside to know that we all came together and brought this for our community.”

The event is a way for Furr HS, which had a gang problem not long ago, to show that things are changing.

The school’s improvements even attracted the attention of a film crew from Spain that is making a documentary about school safety and discipline. Members of the crew read an article about Furr HS in the New York Times and decided to include the school in their film.

“It was quite dangerous. There were lots of gangs and then Dr. (Bertie) Simmons made a real change and it is what it is today,” crewmember Sara Gibbings said. “It’s absolutely fantastic.”

Gibbings said she was incredibly impressed when she visited the school and gave it high praise.

“When we were filming at the school, we met extraordinary people, extraordinary students, extraordinary teachers,” Gibbings said. “It is a great school. I would be proud to send my kids to this school.”

The purpose of the documentary, which features several schools across the United States and will air in Spain late 2013 or early 2014, is to show how American schools protect their students and create an environment conducive for learning.

“In Spain, we don’t have police in schools and America, obviously, has a lot of police in schools,” crewmember Craig Hastings said. “Spain has just started that type of system and we’re here to discover what is it like, the wrongs and the rights.”