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Sunday, May 14, 2023

NYC Mayor Turns Over Public Schools' Gyms To Migrants

What an outrageous act by Mayor Eric Adams: displacing public school kids from their gym time/physical education classes, so that migrants who are entering this country without proper procedures can take valuable spaces in public schools without parents and staff allowed to say "no". We have information that the following schools have been 
used: elementary schools in Brooklyn. PS 172, PS 189, PS 188.

The move by the city has caused outrage in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
Paul Martinka

See here:

Students and parents protest outside Public School MS 577 at N. 5th and Roebling Sts. Tuesday morning in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)

Parents challenge Adams claim housing migrants in NYC public schools won’t affect students as number of schools grows to 20
Bt Cayla Bamberger and Michael Gartland, NY Daily News, May 16, 2023

Mayor Adams claimed Tuesday that his new policy of housing migrants in public school gymnasiums won’t directly impact students s — even as parents protested his latest effort to find ways to shelter the more than 60,000 migrants who’ve come to the city since last year.

“They will not be impacted directly,” Adams said during an interview on 1010 WINS. “They’re not going to be impacted. I’m never going to put our children in harm’s way.”

The Daily News reported Monday that Adams was either housing or attempting to house migrants in seven public schools, but on Tuesday he sketched out a broader plan that could potentially impact 20 or more public schools.

“This is not something we want to do,” Adams said. “What we did was identify 20 standalone gyms — this is not every gym in every school — 20 standalone gyms as one of the potential locations as we have exhausted our hotels and other locations.”

But parents disagree with the mayor’s assessment of how children may be affected.

More than 100 parents and students protested at the building that houses PS 17 and MS 577 Tuesday morning. According to event organizers there, migrants were housed in the building overnight, but cleared out ahead of the demonstration.

The city’s repurposing of the gym at the school is particularly fraught because it just opened in January, after years of parents advocating for it.

“We have a new building that we fought for so our children could have a gym,” said Stacy, whose 10-year-old son receives special education services. “They worked hard to get these activities. They have a carnival next week, and they may not have it now.”

“I don’t want my child to be locked up because he was locked up for two years,” said Melida Rodriguez, a parent and the middle school’s PTA president, referring to the COVID lockdowns. “Now’s the time he’s coming out, socializing with other kids — and then this. It’s not fair.”

The policy comes more than a week after Camille Varlack, Adams’ chief of staff, directed all city agencies to identify city-owned buildings that could be used to house migrants and as the city braces for an even bigger influx of asylum seekers from south of the border with the expiration of Title 42, a federal border policy enacted during the COVID pandemic that permitted for the expulsion of migrants coming into the U.S. from Mexico.

The schools that already have been used to house migrants under Adams’ new policy are PS 188 in Coney Island and PS 17 and MS 577. Other schools being considered include PS 189 in Brownsville and PS 172 in Sunset Park, as well as PS 18, PS 132 and MS 577, all of which are in Williamsburg.
For the second day in a row, a spokesman for Adams refused to make public a full list of the schools that are being considered to house migrants.

“As the mayor has said for months, we are facing an enormous humanitarian crisis, having served more than 65,000 asylum seekers in New York City since last year,” said Adams’ spokesman Fabien Levy. “As Title 42 lifts and we see the numbers of arrivals climb, no option is off the table. We have already opened approximately 150 sites to shelter asylum seekers in New York City.”

At least 75 migrants will temporarily stay inside the gym at PS 188 in Coney Island, two NYC councilmen confirmed — with one of the pols calling the temporary site a “puzzling” move by City Hall.  

Dozens of migrants will be housed at the gym outside the Brooklyn elementary school with no timetable on how long the building will be used as an emergency site for migrants, City Council members Justin Brannan and Ari Kagan said Sunday evening.

“Unclear how long they will need to stay. This location remains puzzling to me,” Brannan tweeted.

Kagan, a Republican, also said in a tweet there was no “timeframe when this gym would be returned to the Coney Island community.”

The school is currently in Kagan’s district, but following the redistricting of council seats, both pols are fighting for the seat that would cover PS 188.

The migrants’ arrival comes just two days after the principal at PS 188 warned the city to choose the school facility as an emergency, temporary site for migrants.

Several migrant families were supposed to be sent to the stand-alone gym adjacent to the rest of the school building late last week, but the plan was put on hold amid community outrage.

The Big Apple continues to struggle mightily to house and care for the flood of migrants arriving from across the southern border – with many of them bused from border states like Texas. Over the last year, tens of thousands of migrants have reached the city.

Migrants could be seen milling around the Sandra Feldman Gymnasium Sunday night.

Antuan, a 21-year-old migrant from Venezuela, told The Post that officials informed him and others they were only staying at the building until Monday.

“They put us here because they don’t want us out on the streets,” he explained. “They’re processing us, giving us our paperwork and then we leave.”

Antuan, who reached New York on Sunday after eight months in Texas, said all the migrants were given a psychological assessment to determine whether they were dangerous before being sent to the Brooklyn neighborhood.

Brannan said in an interview Sunday that City Hall informed him the migrants began arriving at the school gym Sunday evening.

He questioned why city officials chose the Coney Island neighborhood for a migrant site because the area lacks services for them and public transportation is poor.

“And I think overall just housing folks in a public school setting, a public school gym, is just concerning and I think the location is just puzzling,” Brannan said.

The Democratic lawmaker also criticized how City Hall has communicated to the community about the site.

“I think people in the community are obviously compassionate and understanding but the way you find out about something, that colors everything,” Brannan said.

One neighbor asked why the school was the best place to house migrants.

“Why a school? That’s the part I don’t get. There’s always other options. A lot of the buildings around here, they have fallout shelters that are spacious, and used for emergencies,” a woman on the block told The Post.

School safety agents who work at PS 188 were also concerned about what their role would be with migrants there.

“School Safety Agents are trained to protect children, not migrants. National Guard and federal assistance are needed. We protect City school children. That’s our responsibility. Not migrants,” said Local 237 Teamsters spokesman Hank Sheinkopf in a statement to The Post Sunday.  

City Hall press secretary Fabien Levy said the city is opening emergency shelters and respite centers daily, “but we are out of space” in a statement Sunday night. More than 4,200 migrants arrived in the last week with the city receiving hundreds of asylum seekers daily, he added.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams has said repeatedly the city is running out of options with even more migrants expected thanks to the end of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that allowed for the quick expulsion of some border-crossers over COVID-19 concerns.

The policy ended last week.

City Hall has also faced uproar over its plan to bus migrants staying in city shelters to hotels in upstate Rockland and Orange counties. More than 80 migrants – all single men — were shipped to Newburgh hotels in Orange County, last week.

Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus filed lawsuits Friday to stop the hotels from housing migrants. 

Rockland County also took legal to thwart the city’s plan.

More than 140 sites and eight mega-shelters have been opened in the city.


We are all, I guess, aware that the NYC Department of Education has very little interest in kids getting their gym time, anyway. This is what public education looks like under Mayoral control. Parents and stakeholders in public education in NYC have no voice. That is abominable and must change.

Parents in NYC want to end Mayoral control, and have made that clear for 20 years. 

Several years ago I was outraged when I attended and submitted a statement to Assemblyman Michael Benedetto at a hearing on Mayoral control, and before the parent advocates were able to give their speeches for 2 minutes or less Benedetto warned each and every person about to speak that he did not want to hear anything negative about Chancellor Richard Carranza, the person who used to be the lead "VIP" at the NYC Department of Education. But that is exactly what we were there to do, with all that Carranza did not do "right" - for the kids (and see here: Carranza resigns). We wanted him to stop playing politics and cite the reasons why the Chancellor and Mayor should continue to rule the public schools without a valid opposition - a vote on the school board.

In fact, there has not been a day since October 2003 that I have not protested the disenfranchisement of parents and stakeholders of public schools in NYC due to Mayoral control.

 In 2019, I wrote an update to my 2007 post on

 Editorial: Mayoral Control Of The NYC Department of Education Must End   by Betsy Combier

In this post I copied and pasted the discriminatory argument made by then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg on the reason that the vote needed to be removed from the black and Hispanic parents of NYC:

Michael Cardozo's introduction to his submission which removes the constitutional rights of NYC citizens
Pages index -11
Pages 12-25
Pages 26-41
Pages 42-58
Pages 59-80

I will highlight the claim made in the last paragraph:
"As we have demonstrated above, Chapters 91 and 123 have neither the purpose nor the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language group."

My opinion: the City of NY didn't discriminate, but took the Constitutional rights away from everyone who has been given those rights (are citizens over the age of 18). This is a crime. But someone might ask, "Well - what about the Community Education Councils, set up to encourage parental participation in public school education?"

Other posts on my website:

Betsy Combier Speaks Out on the Constitutional Mess Created by Mayoral Control of the New York City Board of Education

Editorial: The New York City Department of Education is a Sham and Mike Bloomberg is the Flim-Flam Man

NYC Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza Hires Cronies and Sets Up a Policy Opposing "White" People in Powerful Positions

My four children are no longer in the NYC Department of Education, thus the DOE's efforts to harm them no longer exist and I still blow many whistles of corruption. But gosh, the DOE tried.
My question is this: why would any parent want to give up his/her/their right to speak and be heard at the school board meetings, as is the current situation? Wasn't there a war to protect the right of "no taxation without representation"? 

Just sayin'....

Betsy Combier

By Hurubie Meko, NY TIMES, May 12, 2023

As New York City officials scramble to find housing for an expected influx of migrants, the city is planning to house them in a stand-alone school gym in Coney Island, officials said Friday.

The city alerted the principal of P.S. 188 that the school’s gymnasium would be used as a sheltering site, said Ari Kagan, a Brooklyn councilman who represents the neighborhoods of Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Gravesend and Sea Gate.

“People are really concerned,” Mr. Kagan said Friday night. “I got a lot of phone calls from concerned parents, from community leaders. Nobody, nobody expressed their support for this plan.”

No migrants were being housed in the gym on Friday night, he said, but added: “What’s going to happen tomorrow and Sunday? Who knows?” He said that the city’s Office of Emergency Management would decide when people would be placed there.

Mr. Kagan, who also criticized the plan in a video he posted on Twitter, added that the struggle to house migrants was a nationwide problem and a shelter in a gym was not the answer.

The announcement comes one day after a Trump-era immigration policy called Title 42, which allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants, ended Thursday night. The end of the pandemic-era policy is expected to lead to a rise in cross-border migration into the United States.

The city is in the middle of a “humanitarian crisis,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Adams, said in a statement Friday evening, adding: “We are opening emergency shelters and respite centers daily, but we are out of space. We will continue to communicate with local elected officials as we open more emergency sites.”

New York City, which is the only major U.S. city with a “right-to-shelter” law, has struggled to house the influx of migrants who have been bused from states like Texas since last year. Mr. Adams has proposed, pivoted from and implemented many options for housing migrants over the past year, even considering placing people on a cruise ship docked in Staten Island.

Earlier this week, Mr. Adams used an executive order to temporarily suspend some of the rules related to its longstanding guarantee to shelter anyone who needs it, including those that require that families be placed in private rooms with bathrooms and kitchens and those that guide how quickly people must be placed in shelters.

“This is not a decision taken lightly,” Mr. Levy said in a statement Wednesday night. “And we will make every effort to get asylum seekers into shelter as quickly as possible, as we have done since Day 1.”

Increasingly frustrated in recent months, the mayor has criticized President Biden and pushed for federal emergency aid.

Earlier this month, Mr. Adams said the city was projecting that it would spend $4.3 billion over the next two fiscal years to cover the costs of the migrant influx and that roughly 37 percent of that was likely to be covered by the state and federal governments.

As the mayor desperately seeks places to house the migrants who are expected to arrive in the city, he also announced plans to begin busing migrants to other counties in the state, setting off a clash with other leaders. On Sunday, he told city leaders to send him a list of all facilities with enough space to accommodate large numbers of migrants.

In an hourslong call on Thursday with more than 100 officials from across the state, Mr. Adams heard complaints that he was not working effectively, adding to criticisms that he had not planned well for a problem he himself had been warning about for the past year.

And somehow Yahoo News got the news rather late, posting this on May 16, 2023:

NYC Mayor Eric Adams

Adams says NYC looking at housing migrants in school gyms

Tue, May 16, 2023

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday that the city is considering housing some migrants in school gyms as it struggles to accommodate those arriving in the city.

Adams told New York 1 that the city is considering about 20 school gyms, each of which are separate from actual school buildings. However, he emphasized that it would be “one of the last places we want to look at.”

“We have an order, almost an order, of where we have to go as the crisis continues,” he said. “This is one of the last places we want to look at. None of us are comfortable with having to take these drastic steps. But I could not have been more clear for the last few months of what we are facing.”

Adams warned last week that New York City would not be able to handle the expected influx of migrants following the end of Title 42. The pandemic-era policy, which allowed U.S. authorities to rapidly expel asylum seekers, expired Thursday.

In the days since the expiration, however, a border surge has not materialized, and in fact border encounters dropped, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Some Republican governors of Southern states have been putting migrants on buses and sending them north in recent months, though, contributing to the influx in New York City.

Adams said Tuesday that the city has received more than 65,000 migrants. Ahead of Title 42’s expiration, the mayor eased the city’s longtime guarantee to provide shelter to all residents and also began busing some migrants to counties in northern New York.