NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Angry parents protested outside Gracie Mansion on Wednesday, accusing Mayor Bill de Blasio of dragging his feet in devising a plan to reopen schools.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, with homemade signs and a whole lot of frustration, parents angry about the mayor’s decision to close schools took to the streets outside his home to demand action. They represent 15,000 parents who have signed a petition amending the schools be reopened ASAP.
“I am furious. I was furious two weeks ago. I was furious last week when schools closed and I am furious today that schools are still closed,” said parent Daniela Kampel.
“The mayor promised. He got on television and he promised that we would have a reopening decision and a plan ‘certainly before Thanksgiving.’ Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So if the mayor will not listen to us where he works, we are coming to him where he lives,” a parent named Mia said.
The group — parents, students, teachers — even Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who is running for mayor, himself, were critical of the mayor’s decision to close schools when the citywide infection rate reached 3% because the infection rate in schools is so much lower: 0.28%, according to the borough president.
His pitch was downright scary, saying if kids lack an education they often turn to crime.
“Eighty percent of the men and women on Rikers Island don’t have a high school diploma or equivalency. That means if you don’t educate, you incarcerate. Today these parents are not only fighting to have their child receive a seat in a school building, they’re fighting to ensure the child won’t have a seat in a jail cell,” Adams said.
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For his part, the mayor made a vague promise to unveil a reopening plan sometime next week, saying again it would be phased in and would require lots of COVID testing.
Parents are not buying it.
“These children desperately need to be in school — 300,000 children who are ripped out of school a week ago and sent them to a hodgepodge of child care options,” Mia said.
Meanwhile, the mayor seemed to be backing off his insistence to school stay closed while the infection rate is 3%.
“Even when you’re in the orange and red zones you can be open,” he said.
The mayor also offered mea culpa of sorts, admitting he closed schools without a “Plan B” for reopening.
“I have to hold myself responsible,” the mayor said.
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