Bloomberg Excoriates Protesters As Panel Votes To Close Schools

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Students arrived Friday morning at Jamaica High School in Queens, well aware its days are numbered. After last night’s contentious community meeting at Brooklyn Technical High School, a New York City Department of Education panel voted to close Jamaica, along with 11 other public schools, for good, citing their underperformance.

The educational panel was given a tongue-lashing Thursday night by an angry crowd. Another tongue-lashing came on Friday, this time from an irritated mayor who accused the crowd of overstepping its bounds, reports CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

Before the hearing about the school closures even began, parents, students and teachers chanted, help up posters insulting new Schools Chancellor Cathie Black.

Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, who mixed it up with a crowed during another schools closure meeting earlier this week, was again drowned out by shouting protesters. Black has come under withering criticism since Mayor Michael Bloomberg tapped her to succeed former Chancellor Joe Klein.

Parents, teachers in the Rockaways express outrage over the latest round of school closings

It was a scene that didn’t sit well with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“We’ve gotten into a culture where it’s fair game to take shots,” Bloomberg said. “It’s become a blood sport.”

On Friday, the mayor unloaded a verbal firebomb against the crowd that disrupted Thursday night’s hearing. Others also walked out, convinced the panel was a rubber stamp for what the Bloomberg administration wants when it comes to school closings.

“We’re saying we’re not going to participate in this fake process,” one teacher said.

“They already made their decision,” said another.

The mayor said what happened wasn’t one of the city’s finest moments.

“This is embarrassing for New York City, for New York State, for America,” Bloomberg said.

The hearing was raucous and frustration was running high. Most of the people in attendance were upset that the educational panel was voting to close 12 schools the city describes as failing, and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

“If it takes a revolution in this city, we are going to take back our schools,” State Senator Tony Avella said.

The mayor said it was unfair to attack Schools Chancellor Black, who has been on the job for just a month, or shout down public servants trying to do their best.

“This is not democracy. Letting people yell and scream, that’s not freedom of expression,” Bloomberg said. “That’s just rying to take away somebody else’s rights.”

Students said although Jamaica High suffers from limited resources, its open enrollment policy is more favorable to immigrant students compared to other technical or admissions-based schools in the area.

“It’s not fair to the students. Whatever you do to the school, give us a chance because we’re trying our hardest,” said Syeda Nasim, Jamaica H.S. sophomore.

There are actually four separate schools inside the Jamaica H.S. building. Supporters of the school said it is unique for the opportunity it provides to students who are new to this country.

“This school is taking them in. And they’re learning whatever they have to do,” said Nebir Dey, Jamaica H.S. sophomore.

Those schools set to be closed include:


  • P.S. 260
  • P.S. 332
  • M.S. 571


  • Frederick Douglass Academy III Middle School
  • John F. Kennedy High School
  • Columbus High School
  • Global Enterprise High School
  • P.S. 102
  • Performance Conservatory High School


  • Norman Thomas High School


  • Beach Channel High School
  • Jamaica High School

Under the existing Bloomberg administration model, all of the schools will likely be replaced with smaller, themed schools within the same buildings.

“Not only smaller, but effective is better, and that’s the bottom line. We want effective schools in place for our children,” said Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott.

Closing schools the city has decided are failing: good idea? Bad idea? Sound off in our comments section.

  • Markus Morkve

    Thanks for providing such information. nifwjre

  • Carlos

    many of these “parents” yelling at the mayor are quick to point fingers everywhere but at themselves. they buy their kids the latest gadgets and video games, but have never taken time to read to them, or take them to a museum, or broadway, or the opera. these parents expect the schools to do a job they are not designed to do, and then blame them. if they really cared so much, these schools would not be in such dire straits they should open their eyes and see how hard the mayor’s trying to improve not just the schools, but the entire city, for their benefit. but they live little lives of ignorance, and they are pandered to by opportunistic politicians seeking to further their own careers and nothing more.

  • Disgusted

    Bloomberg treats middle class and poor The corruption in his administration has even surpassed that of Tamanny Hall.

  • melody

    Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

    Please stop talking. No one cares about your opinion.

    The People of NYC

  • New Yorker 4E!

    Still ‘Waiting for Superman’!

  • Robert Senn

    these schools are very low performers that means some bad teachers bad community boards and bad adminisration close them down its better for the children

    • Mic helle

      Robert , just wanted to say in my opionion trust the mayor is not closing the schools to make things beter for children. This is all about expanding charter schools and they need the space. They are downsizing. You still will have the same students. Yes some schools are failing but look at dewey they cator to ESL students and they are second lauguage learners. Generally they will be your lowest performing . Basically that should be taken in to account. The mayor doesnt even listen to the people. The people on the panel are handpicked. THey have a public forum to follow the legal aspect of it. But trust Robert this is not about the students. If he cared about the students you would not let the schools fail for this long and do nothing until a decade later. Now he is doing something cause he needs the space and u target the so called failing schools first . That is why u hear them saying more schools are slated for closing. Every year schools will be slated cuz the goal is charter everything. Oh and it will be like a domino effect. Thest students will go to other public schools. They will become overcrowded and guess what. U got it slated for closing.

  • danny

    Good education begins at home. School should be considered like work. You wake up early, do your time in (office), do your homework (meetings) and take your tests (employee evaluation) you pass and then you go to the next grade (raise/promotion). If you want to have smart kids, teach them at home. Make them read and solve math problems. If they get their answers right, then let them play video games or whatever.

  • the bandid

    you are right, kids now day go to school to hang out and show the latest dance movement and fashions, they dont go to learn, ask them about history and they dont have an answer, but if you ask about hip hop and rap, they know all the names and albums by heart

  • Barre Flynn

    When a corporation want to get rid of people they reorganize and then rehire the people they want. It saves a lot of money fighting off law suits. Bloomberg knows this and uses this strategy. AMEX was like that and often it backfired in their faces. Smaller schools are more controllable. Who knows the motive.

  • CSI

    Not like these kids went to school anyway. I’ve been to JFK and have friends who went to Jamaica. Graduation rate is poor and kids just go there to hang out.

  • Ralph P.

    I have several friends in the teaching profession and I know through them there are MANY wonderful teachers out there! However, there are also the slacker teachers. If closing these schools and “downsizing” eliminates the slacker teachers, and keeps the good ones, then I’m all for it!

  • Rocky


  • skull

    I first read it and thought closing 12 schools is insane. But all of the schools will reopen in the same building? So will the bad schools close and be remolded over the summer to reopen next school year? If it actually happens, in theory I think it’s a good Idea. Most public schools are so pitiful, run by losers and like my high school for example – the classrooms and schools are brought down to the lowest common denominator of students. Maybe wiping out the slackers and starting fresh is best? At least an improvement is trying to be made.

    • steve madden




    • Henry Rosengarten

      Skull is correct. I have been in eduction, as a teacher for 32 years and an administrator for a national education program for another nine. Education in the United States needs a total revision. Our core curriculum needs drastic revision, our tenure and seniority practices need revision. At the same time, administrators, from building principals to the Boards of Education need to be retrained. Many of them stress their own personal agendas rather than what is good for the students. We need to stop over-testing, yet underexpecting. We need to get the parents more involved.

      Basically, the system that has failed us for over 120 years needs to be revised.

      Do not blame the politicians: it is not the mayor, governor’s or president’s fault that the system is broken. They are doing the best with what they have been given to work with. It is the system that is broken. Change must start now.

      • Jimmy

        It didn’t fail until the rise of Shanker and Community school boards in the 60’s. Before that it was quite a success.



      • MIKE JONES


  • Jets Fan

    The Apple is rotten to the core once again

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