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Parents Protest DOE Plan To Keep Students In Failing Bronx School

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As the school year comes to a close this week, 20 city schools will start the process of closing forever, based on poor performance. But parents at one Bronx school protested by Department of Education headquarters Monday, saying their children were being left behind by staying in the school. NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Parents and children from P.S. 64 in the Bronx came down to the Department of Education headquarters in Lower Manhattan on Monday to ask for help. This spring, the DOE decided to close the school, saying it has failed.

Parents agree, saying the school is really bad. But because the DOE plans to phase out the school slowly, over several years, parents are worried for their children, who will be stuck there in the meantime.

"It's not a good school. They're not teaching the kids, they're bullying there," said Hawa Jagana, a parent.

The parents said they want the school to "close with dignity," saying right now, their children are never given homework and don't have enough guidance counselors.

"I'm worried a lot, because we need a principal with experience, we need more programs, we need more safety for our children in the school," said Magatte Ndiaye, a parent.

The DOE's plan for P.S. 64 is that all current kindergarten and first grade students will transfer to one of two new schools scheduled to open in the building this September. But second, third and fourth graders will continue attending P.S. 64. Three years from now, when they've all finished fifth grade, the school will be officially closed.

In a very unusual move, the DOE also assigned new students to P.S. 64. Parents said they were been told their children will start third grade there this fall, after the school has already started to close.

Those students currently attend a much better performing school, P.S. 170, that only goes from kindergarten through second grade.

Parents said two dozen children are impacted, but DOE spokesperson Devon Puglia said he is unable to confirm the number of students the department assigned to the low-performing school.

"Now he's from a good one to the worst. That's not going to help my kid. He's going backwards, that's scary. I don't know what we're going to do, we need help," Jagana said.

DOE officials said this is not the first time new students have been zoned to attend a school that is phasing out, but when NY1 asked for previous examples, a spokesperson did not respond.

The department did say that P.S. 64 will be given a new principal, who will support students as the school slowly closes.

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