At 12:05 p.m. on Friday, March 9, the students of Schomburg Satellite Academy in the South Bronx walked out of their classes and marched to the office of State Senator Ruben Diaz at 900 Rogers Place.
The student-led protest was a response to a Department of Education plan that would place a charter school in their building, taking away 47.5% of the school’s classrooms.
A group of sixty students stood outside the Senator’s office, chanted, and displayed signs to the media, police, and onlookers. Senator Diaz conferenced with four representatives of the group, and emerged from the meeting with a message of support for their demands that no school should take away classrooms from the existing schools.
The protest came in preparation for the Joint Public Hearing for Schomburg Satellite Academy and Bronx Regional High School by the Department of Education and the SUNY Charter Schools Institute. Meeting information is listed below:
Bronx Regional Complex: Joint Public Hearing
1010 Rev. James A. Polite Avenue
Bronx, NY 10459
Monday, March 12 at 6:00 p.m.
The plan proposed by the Department of Education would reduce the number of classrooms in Satellite Academy by 47.5% and in Bronx Regional by 25.8% to make room for a new charter school backed by the Department of Education, starting in September 2012. It is opposed by the students, parents, community organizations, and the UFT chapters of both high schools.
“I am just trying to understand why we are always the last to know when it comes to decisions you make for our children,” contended Nona Sameuls, Satellite’s PTA President, in a March 7 meeting with Department of Education officials responsible for the plan. Parents and students were taken by surprise when the proposal for the new school was announced on February 2, 2012.
Strong opposition from parents and community members is expected at the March 12 hearing.