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NYC Public School Students Sharing Space with Evacuees: A Good Idea?

Look, I get it. New York City Public Schools act as evacuation centers in an emergency. That is how it should be, of course. And when I first heard that one of my kids may be sharing space with some people who were evacuated because of the hurricane, I didn’t think much of it. Sharing space is part of living in NYC. And of course people who have been evacuated should not be further displaced.

Of course.

I thought it was a good thing. But then I found out more about the situation.

I read an article from the local newspaper. About the fact that “some students will be sharing school buildings with hundreds of displaced New Yorkers possibly including mentally ill patients who require constant monitoring” and that “the Chancellor could not guarantee that students and the evacuees would be kept apart from each other.” And, perhaps, most disturbingly of all, that “city officials say they have not screened out criminals, sex offenders or dangerous individuals from the shelters.”

This seems to be have bad idea written all over it. At a time when we are increasingly cautious about who can have contact with children, it is difficult for me to believe that this is the best that the NYC Public School system can offer its families or that the city can offer the evacuees.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t have a solution to propose- postpone the reopening of the school, find another location for the evacuees, screen the evacuees, I don’t know. I have emailed the Chancellor and the school, but have not heard back yet. I get it. They’re busy. I can’t even imagine the daunting task that they are facing. And having seen them in action before, I have no doubt that they have the best interests and welfare of the children in mind.

But I am very concerned that come Monday, parents like me will need to make a choice between sending their children to a potentially unsafe environment on the one hand compromising their education on the other. And without having some reassurances and more information, I don’t think that’s a choice that any parent should have to make.

All quotes from The Daily News

Photo credit: iStockPhoto

For more of Marinka, visit her personal blog Motherhood in NYC and The Mouthy Housewives, where she doles out advice as though it were candy. Mmm … candy. Also, follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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