The person who commented that Hixson never had a winning season while Tom McCollough was principal is incorrect. In the 1984/85 season Hixson went 8-2, with one of the defeats being a very close 7-6 loss to Red Bank.
As for the rest, I will admit that there is a lot to this story that is fishy, but there also appears to be a lot of confusion over the nature of hardship exemptions. Our experience is that if you have anything close to a legitimate reason for wanting your kid to transfer, an exemption is not that hard to obtain. One of our kids has attended an elementary school out of his zone for years, mainly because a) we moved back here at the beginning of a school year and did not yet have a permanent address , and b) there was an elementary school near my place of employment. That was enough to get us the initial exemption, and we've reapplied every year so that our son wouldn't have to change schools again. We have to supply our own transportation, but we've never had a problem getting the exemption.
Also, under "No Child Left Behind" many students are offered the chance to transfer to another school if their present school fails to make AYP. We experienced this with one of our other kids. She actually attends one of the better high schools in the county, but one year it "failed" AYP in one area (the better a school performs, the harder it becomes to meet next year's goals--one can only raise the bar so far). We got a letter offering her a choice of schools she could transfer to. At least one of the choices was across town. We elected to keep her in the school she is zoned for, but the experience was eye-opening.