The auditorium of PS 48 was filled with dozens of Staten Island parents Tuesday night looking for answers. This was at New York City Schools chancellor Carmen Fariña's town hall. Topics included bus safety measures, student support services, and following a stabbing at a public school in the Bronx last week, metal detectors in schools.
"We are under no circumstances removing metal detectors from schools that have them, nor are we necessarily putting in more unless the incident reports from that school or the SLT in those schools want them,” the chancellor said.
There was one topic however that had many parents angry; the restructuring of the “small learning communities” and honors programs at Port Richmond High School since new principal Oneatha Swinton started.
"She took away collegiate and gateway programs which is an honors program and that's not going to look good on my daughter's college application,” said parent Janine Detore. “It's going to look like she dropped out."
"You pick by program, you don't just go by high school anymore and I'm a little bit confused as to how that can just be pulled away, why not phase things out?" said parent Joanne Olis.
According to the superintendent however, no programs have actually been eliminated, but rather resources are being pooled to benefit all students.
"I want to be clear, when people change jobs there needs to be an adjustment period,” said Fariña. “And the superintendent and I discussed this and I think there will be time to have renewed conversations."
Students though, like 11th grader Ryan Horga, said the changes are causing confusion.
"We've all been in the dark, there's not really that much communication between the principal and the parents and the students,” he said.
"I understand with a new administration we're going to have changes but those changes shouldn't affect the children,” said parent Johanny Delcruz. “And especially create an atmosphere in which the children are stressed out."
The chancellor said she will look into this topic as well as others brought up at the town hall, and said parents should continue to reach out with concerns.