Brooklyn students in danger of failing after school lets only Spanish teacher go

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BROOKYLN (PIX11) – For months parents and students at the Secondary School for Journalism in Park Slope have been screaming for help. About 20 students nearing graduation are failing to meet the minimum requirements for an advanced language degree because the school was forced to let go of a Spanish teacher because of funding.

Not only could the students fail to meet the graduation requirements, they may also fail to qualify for certain scholarships without a third year of language studies. Parent Annette Renaud, who is fighting for her child, was simply riding the train last week when she told her story to Brandon Stanton, founder of the website “Humans of New York”.

“Trying to get something fixed in these schools is like praying to some false God,” Renaud told the blogger.

“You call and email hoping that God is listening, and nothing happens.  Meanwhile the kids suffer.”

Facebook campaign

The post struck a nerve.  More than 150-thousand people liked it on Facebook alone.  Petitions have popped up on Change.org across the country urging someone to help.
But the John Jay campus, where the school is located, is actually home to several different schools.  And students at some of the other schools say the problems at the Secondary School for Journalism are hardly unique.

“The same thing that’s going on in journalism is happening in law and worse,” said Marlo Moses, a Senior at the Secondary School For Law also located at the John Jay campus.

Moses started her own petition to bring attention to similar problems at her school including changing the names of classes to meet certain requirements.

“They renamed a course and gave it to us knowing that it was a course that we already took and just renamed it to try to pass it off as if it was a new class when it wasn’t.”

One student who asked that we hide her identity says she wouldn’t have fulfilled her graduation requirements if she hadn’t noticed an error in her course schedule.

woman DOE

“The schools, they’re all the same, they don’t really care about us.  They don’t take care of our situations,” said the student.

For it’s part the Department of Education says it’s working on the availability of foreign language classes at the Secondary School for Journalism and says online courses have been available to students since the beginning of the year.

“We continue to work closely with the school community to ensure students have access to the courses they need,” said DOE Deputy Press Secretary Marcus Liem.

As for Renaud, she told Humans of New York it’s really just about making sure the students get the education they need.

“We’ve got a new mayor and a new chancellor.  So we aren’t blaming them.  But they need to know how impossible they’ve made it to help our kids.”