Parents, lawmakers rally after migrants sleep on high school floor during storm

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Concerns raised after migrants moved into local NYC high school
Joe Torres has the story.

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- Parents and state lawmakers rallied outside a high school in Brooklyn on Wednesday morning to publicly denounce the mayor's plan that brought migrants to a local high school and kept students home.

Hundreds of asylum seekers were moved to James Madison High School on Tuesday night from Floyd Bennett Field.

City leaders pulled them from the temporary shelter due to the strong winds associated with the storm.

Mayor Eric Adams visited the school on Tuesday night to see the asylum seeker families sleeping in the auditorium and gym. In pictures posted on social media, there do not appear to be cots. Instead, the migrant families are sleeping in auditorium chairs, in folding chairs, or on the floor with blankets.

The asylum seekers returned back to Floyd Bennett Field early Wednesday morning, but the sudden cancellation of classes at the high school led to disruptions at home.

The decision had already been made to operate the high school remotely Wednesday, but the move has drawn backlash from some parents and politicians.

"Parents of those kids who are not able to go to their school today, who are not able to have their lunch today at the school, and to parents who are not able to go to work today," said New York State Assemblymember Michael Novakhov.

Novakhov held an "emergency rally" outside the school on the "decision to prioritize migrants over the our communities, budget, safety and even the education of our children."

"Nobody is in charge, New Yorkers are a very compassionate people but they are losing their patience, they don't have any patience anymore," said New York State Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny.

Adams blasted critics of using the school to house asylum seeker families during the storm.

"When you have these emergencies, you utilize all of your assets and our school buildings are part of our assets, they are the focal points of our communities," Adams said.

Lawmakers said Washington, Albany and City Hall are to blame for putting the shelter needs of migrants ahead of the educational needs of students.

"What is going to happen Friday night to the migrants who are at Floyd Bennett Field? What school is next? Which school is next? And Madison is not a school for evacuation purposes," said New York State Assemblymember Jaime Williams.

According to parents, the staff at Madison set up Wednesday's schedule for a day of remote learning, but the parents also said only a few of the teachers actually signed in to the link, leading to an unexpected day of lost learning.

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Anthony Carlo has the details.


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