NEW YORK -- A Brooklyn middle school told parents to pick up their kids early on Friday because of flooding in the basement of the building. But after they waited outside for over an hour, the school said it was safe for the kids to stay.
A text message sent to parents read, "Good morning. There is a building condition issue here this morning at IS 228. If you are able to pick up your children, please do so as soon as possible."
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One mother said she rushed over in the pouring rain after reading the text. Dozens of other parents got the same text and did the same thing, but they weren't immediately allowed to take their kids home and had to wait outside in the rain.
"Now they're saying the kids can stay, but we don't really know how much truth is to that. They're not gonna say 'Oh there is a big issue,' and get everyone here going nuts," the mother said.
Many of the students were moved to the gymnasium because of the flooding.
"This is absurd. Why can't the kids also go home? They're middle schoolers," the woman said. "If there wasn't a big issue, then why don't they just let them go home like a normal day, maybe say a it's a half day. I don't know. They want us to sign a student release and then provide our identification, but there's a lot of people in that gymnasium."
Parents finally started leaving with their kids shortly after 12:30 p.m. Aggravated, some told CBS New York they waited outside for almost four hours after leaving work early.
"There's a big flood downstairs in the basement. It's chaotic in the auditorium," one father said. "I've been out here an hour and a half trying to get my son ... They've been calling everyone since 8:00 and the auditorium is still packed with parents that still haven't got their kid."
Other parents said they're now questioning the school's preparedness for a more serious emergency because of the chaotic dismissal.
New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said the principal's decision to notify parents to pick up their kids was premature.
"Precisely the wrong thing to do," said Banks. "The conditions were worse outside of the schools, and so we'll be addressing that."
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