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NYC Teachers Sound Off Parking Enforcement Blitz, After Being Issued Tickets And Having Boots Placed On Cars

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some teachers working in tough conditions during the coronavirus pandemic say the city has found a way to cause them even more stress.

A city parking enforcement blitz on West 52nd Street between Ninth and 10th avenues in Hell's Kitchen has resulted in dozens of tickets on their cars, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported Wednesday.

The essential worker educators at Blessed Sacrament School were outraged.

"We've been getting not just ticketed but booted and towed," fourth grade teacher Kathryn Gomes said.

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Gomes has been hit with $500 worth of tickets, even though she has an official city placard and parks in a zone outlined by as sign that says "School Faculty."

"I said, 'Do you understand I'm a teacher parked in front of the school? I have a pass. You've booted my car,'" Gomes said.

She said this has happened to at least seven other teachers since October.

Earlier this month, four teachers' cars were booted in a single day, Dec. 7.

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There was a boot placed on the car of science teacher William Hawthorne.

"Clearly the city is in a tough time for money, but that doesn't mean you have to bleed dry all the essential workers. People have to drive to work try to stay off the subway, to try not to get kids sick, and stuff like that. I just think there could be a better way," Hawthorne said.

He called it "overzealous" enforcement and a city cash grab.

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When asked about it Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said enforcement should be more focused on moving violations, and he urged anyone who feels unfairly ticketed for parking to call 311.

"If someone's having a problem, of course contact the Department of Finance and they'll do anything they can to work with you," de Blasio said.

"I've written letters to the mayor's office already. I've written several actually and I haven't heard a peep," Gomes said.

Gomes said because outdoor dining structures take away teacher parking spaces, the parking zone should be extended, and more dashboard placards handed out. She added there should be more gratitude and understanding for teachers trying to work through a pandemic.

The NYPD said vehicles in this case were not properly displaying permits. The Department of Transportation told CBS2 signs will be updated in the coming days allowing staff to park there longer. However, permits or placards are capped, so there won't be more of those.

CBS2's Dave Carlin contributed to this report

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