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Fight for the Right to Protest on the Mayor’s Block


Tuesday, January 12, 2010 NYC
Parents, Students, and Teachers Fight for the Right to Protest on the Mayor’s Block

Today, attorneys Norman Siegel and Herbert Teiteleaum filed papers in United States District Court, Southern District, on behalf of a parent, two students and a teacher who are members of The Emergency Coalition to Stop School Closings, to hold a protest on the Mayor’s block on the Upper East Side on January 21st.
The Emergency Coalition intends to hold a city-wide protest on the Mayor’s block, on January 21, 2010 from 4:00-6:30. Parents, students, and teachers view this as their First Amendment right and vital to have their voices heard regarding the unfair and destructive educational policies being proposed by the NYC Department of Education.
“The Bloomberg Administration is undermining our schools, without any compassion or understanding of how these policies will affect our children. It’s time for parents to stand up and say no! We refuse to take it anymore. Our schools are the lifeblood of our communities, and we will take our voices and our struggle to the Mayor’s block in the hope that there, we will finally be heard,” Lydia Bellahcene, Parent, PS 15, The Patrick F. Daly School, Red Hook, Brooklyn.
“ My school, as well as many of the others that the city wants to close, are doing as well as we can given the continued budget cuts, overcrowding, and the other challenges we face. What we need is more support, smaller classes, and more programs to engage us, not to be closed down and replaced by small schools or charter schools which will make us travel many miles away or exclude us from attending,” Khalilah Dickerson, student, Maxwell High School.

“I feel it’s important to rally on the mayor’s block, because he needs to hear how students and the community really feels about school closures. Our school has been making progress, so it is wrong to close a school that is improving. The mayor seems to be making decisions without listening to us, the ones he claims to be helping. This is why we want to march on the Mayor’s block – so he can hear our voices loud and clear, ” Richard McDonald, student, Maxwell High School.
“The Bloomberg Administration’s current policy of school closings and charter school invasions highlight a clear intent to dismantle public education. Stakeholders from the affected school communities, insist we have the right to protest on the Mayor’s block to prevent our communities from being divided and disenfranchised.” Julie Cavanagh, Teacher PS 15K, Representative from CAPE, Concerned Advocates for Public Education, a parent and teacher coalition at PS 15K.
“The average New Yorker believes that the Mayor has been enacting reforms that better the education of the 1.1 million students in our public school system. By protesting, we want to expose the fact that school closures and the threat of closure have done immense harm to these students’ education. Closures have caused the flight of quality teachers from high needs areas, stripped curriculums of all but mindless drilling for high stakes testing, brought corruption in the form of credit recovery and social promotion, and set the way for a two tiered system under charter school disparity.” Seung Ok, Teacher Maxwell High School.
James Eterno, chapter leader at Jamaica HS says: “This administration is closing schools down like they are franchises whose revenue is declining. What they don’t realize is that Jamaica HS, like many of these other schools, is an integral part of its community, has had a long tradition of success before Klein was made chancellor, and despite his negative policies, is improving rapidly — with a 15% increase in graduation rate in recent years. We will advocate for its survival even if we have to take the message to the Mayor’s front door.”
The Emergency Coalition to Stop School Closings is comprised of dedicated parents, students, and teachers who seek to protect and support NYC public schools from the detrimental policies of the Bloomberg Administration and are demanding that the Department of Education halt school closures and the charter school invasions that are undermining the health of our public education system.

No matter what the court decides, the Coalition intends to go ahead with their plan to protest in Bloomberg’s neighborhood on January 21st, whether on the Mayor’s block or in a nearby location. Protesters will be meeting at 4:00 at 5th Avenue and 79th street on the park side.

Media Contacts:
Lydia Bellahcene: lillytigre@yahoo.com, 347-463-9809, PTA PS 15- 718-330-9280

Khalilah Dickerson- 347-264-4527/lilahmissco@hotmail.com
Richard McDonald- 347-445-3927/mcdonald_richie@yahoo.com
Julie Cavanagh: juliereed15@hotmail.com, 917-836-6465
Seung Ok: possitivelypessimist@gmail.com, 646-244-4468
James Eterno: jeterno@nyc.rr.com , 718-268-0788

Norman Siegel: 347-907-0867

Herberet Teiteleaum: 518-441-9412

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