It’s easy to see why many were outraged after The New York Post broke a story about P.S. 120 in Flushing, Queens. The New York City public school, the newspaper reported, forced more than 100 students, including children from poor immigrant families, to sit in an auditorium and watch movies while their friends frolicked outside at a school carnival. To some children, it seemed like punishment but they hadn’t done anything wrong — their parents had simply been unable to pay the carnival’s $10 admission fee … and so the kids paid the price.
Plenty of people, including New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, have condemned the school’s actions — the principal, in particular, is reportedly to blame — but I was hesitant to add my voice to the mix. Yes, I was angry, too, but why pile on?
I am happy, however, to opine on a new angle to the story: The president of the carnival company hired to run the school event is now offering to host a new, free carnival for the kids who missed out on the first one.
“I’m in the business for over 25 years and always put kids first,” Gary Pincus, president of Send in the Clowns Entertainment, told The Post. “Therefore, I would love to do a free carnival for all the kids that weren’t permitted to attend.”
In addition to Pincus, a real estate developer and a local businessman have offered help in putting together a party for the kids.
There are a couple of asterisks attached to this otherwise delightful development. It’s questionable as to whether the new carnival will actually happen — Pincus later told The Post that he “can’t get a straight answer” from the school’s parent association about when to host the new event. There’s also no denying that by making their generous offers, the three men looking to help the kids are also garnering great PR for themselves and their businesses.
Nevertheless, I’m still grateful that someone is doing something to try to right a wrong inflicted on the most innocent of populations. If these efforts get enough attention, maybe they’ll actually come to fruition.
The kids of P.S. 120 will get more than enough opportunities, sadly, to learn about the disparities between the haves and have-nots of the world. They certainly didn’t need to have such a lesson inflicted upon them on a day reserved for school festivities. But now, at least, they have a chance to forget about all that for a while and just have fun. However much a new event would cost the folks who have stepped forward to help, I have no doubt that it’d be money well spent.More On