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Parents, Teachers Outraged Over School Closings Across NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Another meeting continued late into the night Thursday in Brooklyn on the topic of closing 24 schools in the city.  Parents, students and teachers are all looking for a reprieve.

The meeting was similar to the boisterous public meeting that took place back in February at Brooklyn Technical High School when the Panel For Educational Policy (PEP) voted to close 23 schools.

1010 WINS' Eileen Lehpamer With More From The Hearing


Hundreds came out and filled the auditorium at Prospect Heights Campus, where the PEP was voting on closure of 24 poor-performing schools -- 10 in the Bronx, seven in Queens, five in Brooklyn and two in Manhattan.

They are schools that would reopen next fall with the same students, but a new name and new teachers and administrators, CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

Parents were not mincing any words Thursday night as they spoke out against the closings.

"This is about classism, this is about racism. They are not doing this in Riverdale or Staten Island or the Upper West Side," said Margie Stanberg, a teacher and member of the teacher's union. "They're doing this in the black and Latino and the Asian communities."

"Some may need to be closed. Some people may need to go, but I say they need to go at the board of mis-education, too, because the bureaucracy does not work for the children," one parent added.

Student also expressed their angry sentiments and feelings toward the PEP.

"We are simply your lab rats.  You are experimenting with our education and it's wrong," said Melvin Hydleburg of Lehman High School.

However, not everyone was speaking out against the closings.

"I support it.  We have to make teachers and these failing schools accountable for letting our children fail. And we're not going to just sit down and let it happen," said grandmother Anita Brown.

Aside from the effect the closings would have on students, another big concern is that only half of some 3,000 teaching jobs are expected to be restored once the replacement schools open.

Michael Mulgrew, the head of the teachers union, speculated that the situation was retribution from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office for going against his policies, further speculating that the mayor is now taking it out on teachers.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott was also at the meeting Thursday night.  Earlier in the day, he decided to remove two schools from the list of proposed closings -- Grover Cleveland in Queens and Bushwick Community High in Brooklyn.

He said those schools had demonstrated the ability to continue improvements without comprehensive actions.

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