The Eastern School District took a lashing Tuesday night over its plan to close rural schools, as parents from the Avondale area made a plea to prevent a wholesale transformation of a high school.

The board, which has been holding meetings on a recommended plan to close five schools in eastern Newfoundland, wants to turn Roncalli High into a K-12 school. If approved, it would become the largest all-grade school in eastern Newfoundland.

The plan would also mean the closure of Immaculate Conception Elementary in nearby Colliers, and would remove two grades from Holy Cross Elementary in Holyrood.

Many parents say it's inappropriate to put young children with high school students.

"My biggest concern is the bus ride, and they're telling us that from Kindergarten right on up to Grade 12, they're all going to be on the same bus?" said Wanda Whelan, whose daughter is nine years old.

"She's going to hear about things that she just does not need to hear about right now."

The Eastern School District has been facing stiff opposition in other rural communities where closures have been recommended, including in Swift Current and in Trinity North.

At the meeting in Avondale, the board was accused of trying to save money on the backs of students.

Whelan said she is concerned that children will not have access to a playground at the revamped school, and that gym periods will be cut in half.

The board will vote on the proposed changes on Dec. 13.

If approved, the closures will take effect in September 2013.