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Parents fume after students at James Madison High forced to learn remotely while school housed asylum seekers – CBS News

Parents fume after students at James Madison High forced to learn remotely while school housed asylum seekers – CBS News

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/ CBS New York
NEW YORK — Facing intense anger from parents and local politicians, city officials on Wednesday defended their decision to move thousands of asylum seekers from the Floyd Bennett Field tent shelter to a Brooklyn high school to protect them from high winds and rain.
The backlash was so intense, the school received a bomb threat.
There was not shortage of frustration as parents and community leaders gathered outside James Madison High School, claiming classes never should have been moved online to make room for some 1,900 migrants to temporarily shelter in their gym and auditorium during Tuesday night’s storm.
“It’s inexcusable to do this to the students of New York City high schools, especially after all they’ve been through with COVID,” one parent said.
“They have to come up with another solution. They cannot do this to school kids,” a resident named Steve said.
“Mr. Mayor, you knew this was going to happen. Everyone knew this was going to happen,” Assemblyman Mike Riley said.
The protesters said schools shouldn’t be used as shelters and that Floyd Bennett Field, which is located along the shore of Jamaica Bay, is not a good place to house migrants because of its vulnerability to weather events.
“We need a more sustainable plan and we know another storm is coming, one of two of them,” said Assemblywoman Jamie Williams of Brooklyn.
City officials said migrant families were bused back to Floyd Bennett Field at 4:15 a.m. on Wednesday, a timing decision state Assemblyman Michael Novakhov also questioned, along with the costs, staffing and planning required to relocate hundreds of people.
“I’m sympathetic to migrants, to have no idea why they removed during the night. Those people have kids — 4:15 in the morning? School is closed anyways. They could’ve stayed here until 6 or 7 a.m.,” Novakhov said.
City officials said they would not be using James Madison High School to shelter asylum seekers ever again, but New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol added they acted, “out of an abundance of caution to insure the safety and well-being of individuals working and living at the center.”
They also made it clear they weren’t thrilled to build a shelter at Floyd Bennett Field, but that was the only location state and federal officials offered them.
“We were hoping that maybe we would be provided a military base, an airfield, a park someplace upstate, someplace outside the city, someplace where we could do some of this work. What was provided to us was Floyd Bennett Field. All of us in the city understand that Floyd Bennett Field is not an ideal place to be housing families with children,” Iscol said.
The officials were also upset set that the school received a bomb threat and a number of hate calls. They called those actions “deplorable,” and said they were being investigated as possible criminal offenses.
Marcia Kramer joined CBS2 in 1990 as an investigative and political reporter. Prior to CBS2, she was the City Hall bureau chief at the New York Daily News.
First published on January 10, 2024 / 7:22 AM EST
© 2024 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
©2024 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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