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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli Sues The NYC DOE To Re-Open Schools


Staten Island City Councilman Joe Borelli announces a lawsuit to force NYC to resume
in-person learning last month [photo: Paul Martinka]

We do not agree with the sudden closing of all schools. See this from the New York Times, November 20, 2020:

Parents Erupt in Frustration as New York City Schools Close
“Does the mayor think we’re all stay-at-home moms?”

We believe that the NYC Department of Education and NYC itself are in chaos, without any firm, workable standard, or policy to follow, and too many parents, students, and teachers are harmed if the schools keep opening and closing in a haphazard manner, as we see in NYC.

As a parent and teacher advocate, I know that thousands of NYC families do not have food for their kids or internet access. While some effort is being made to remedy this situation, and we value that, the efforts are not enough.

Essential workers who depend upon schools to take care of their kids not only in terms of learning, but feeding, and watching them, giving them opportunities to socialize safely - with masks and 6 feet apart - are all very important not only for these kids today, but tomorrow and far into the future.

At the same time, I am stunned by the denial of accommodations being handed out to educators who are compromised by medical conditions, while others get the rest of the school year teaching remotely. We must do better.

There should be a concerted effort to gather together a team of concerned educators who will visit each home in their community to see what the immediate needs of the families are and make a record.

How about you start, Chancellor Carranza? Donate your salary to this team and put your feet where they need to be, running toward a solution. We know the problems and we have the ability to solve the gap between those who have everything and those who have nothing. Let's do something meaningful.

Best of luck, Councilman Borelli, on this precedent-setting lawsuit.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ blog
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli, parents file lawsuit to reopen NYC schools
Susan Edelman, NYPOST, November 21, 2020

Staten Island City Councilman Joe Borelli joined parents in filing a second lawsuit seeking an emergency injunction to reopen public schools, he announced Saturday.

The Friday night filing in Manhattan federal court comes on the heels of Mayor de Blasio’s controversial decision to shutter all city schools due to rising COVID-19 cases.

“Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza have continued to fail our children time and time again,” Borelli said in a statement. “Even though they had six months to prepare for this school year, they failed to do so and our children are forced to pay the price.”

He added, “Remote learning has proven to be a failure and now they have taken the extra step of closing the schools completely. This is utterly irresponsible and unacceptable.”

Borelli and a group of Staten Island parents filed a lawsuit last month in Richmond County Supreme Court to demand a full reopening of schools. The suit complained that remote instruction is depriving students of an adequate education.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Mark Fonte, Lou Gelormino, and James Mermigis.

“Governor Cuomo said just two days ago that ‘the infection rates in the schools are very low and the infections are not coming from the schools,’” Mermigis said in a statement.

“Why are we closing our schools? This is just another example of the random and arbitrary decisions that are being made in Albany and City Hall. But now, we are hurting our children and this incompetence at the top is unacceptable.”

De Blasio said he stuck to a promise to parents and teachers before opening schools that he would shut them as a safety precaution if the positivity rate hit 3 percent on a rolling seven-day average.

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