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Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Farina defend decision to keep schools open

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NEW YORK (PIX11) — While many parents were angry about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to keep schools open, officials felt they made the right call.

At a noon press conference, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and Mayor de Blasio defended keeping the schools open despite the weather.

“Parents are going to make choices so I think we did the right thing,” said Farina.

Over the last 50 years, New York City schools have closed fewer than ten times.

Another major reason Farina decided to keep schools open was because school is seen as a “safe haven” for many kids.

“Many of our kids would not have had a hot lunch today,” said Farina.

The chancellor said schools had more than a 60 percent attendance rate Wednesday afternoon.

Dangerous conditions on the road have parents and students alike questioning de Blasio’s decision.

“How are we supposed to stay off the roads, if NYC schools remain OPEN!” mother Tilena Diamond commented on PIX11’s Facebook page. “UNREALISTIC MAYOR!!!! I am keeping my children home warm and safe period. And so is 95% of parents.”

This is the second time in recent weeks de Blasio has taken heat for keeping schools out despite inclement weather.

29 comments

  • Melissa

    The mayor is a fool!!! As a nyc public school teacher these kind of days become a babysitting day for us for parents who need to go to work. School buses are not that safe to begin with and they are carrying children. If the mayor wants to keep schools open then it should be a priority to plow all main and secondary streets to make it safe for teachers and buses. With all this snow where are educators supposed to park since there are no parking lots for public schools? I just got to work and noticed the main streets by my school are not plowed and all spots are plowed in. The mayor needs to use his head and make decisions that are safe for everyone.

  • yourbigapple

    I don’t understand parents of today. I am 63 years and have been living in NYC my entire life  and when it snowed we put are boots on and went to school. For NYC schools to close for a snow day back then, we needed a foot or more of snow and it seemed the even an act of Congress couldn’t get the city to close the schools. If I went in the 50’s and 60’s the can go now. 

    Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G Touch

  • jordana

    Bill de blasio if this is the way your going to run the city we made a mistake. Making parents take kids to school under dangerous conditions.

  • Masa

    Strike two for the uncaring mayor. And it's only the second month. We're in big trouble. My son says there's 4 people in class. Now I have to drive 20 min to pick him up. Thanx for keeping me on the road, ASS

  • EAP

    Mr. Mayor, please keep our students' safety a bigger priority than funding from Albany. Students trying to get to school when it is still snowing can NOT walk down sidewalks because the law does not require that they get shoveled until after it stops snowing. Kids are wandering down poorly cleared city streets.
    400 schools surrounding NYC were closed. Please show our kids that we care as much about them as surrounding communities care about their kids!

  • BxTeacher

    The mayor is a total fool who does not value anything except money. He declares a state of emergency in all five boroughs and sends non-essential government employees homes, but school staff and students should brave blatantly dangerous conditions? Take days out of our breaks if you have to, but don't make teachers take our sick days for not driving or going out in conditions YOU say are unsafe. What if there's a sick person in our family or we are sick or there's an emergency? And many of my coworkers who are in the city are waiting for transport that is late or doesn't come. What does that tell you about the kids? How many take public transportation? How many take younger siblings to school, either by bus or train, or even walking? How many go on school buses? You think it's unsafe enough to cancel school trips, though, right? You're even sending kids out to walk in the ice and snow and saying, well, parents make a judgment. These kids shouldn't have to take an absence on a day like this. Please get rid of this guy. He's awful.

  • Christine

    Mayor DeBlasio, how does the Governor call a state of emergency and it doesn’t register yet that New York is in trouble… yesterday you declared a hazardous travel advisory, Ok? How do kids go to school? Via, car, bus, train and car…Hello? Ding!ding!ding!

  • S. Starr

    I was watching PIX news this morning just as I was deciding if it was safe enough to go to work at a NYC public school. PIX showed none of the treachery happening in the outer boroughs. I thought outside was nice and fine until I couldn't open my front door b/c of the mounds of snow.

  • Kathy Goldhirsch

    I can hardly walk on the streets in my neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. I am trying to figure out how to get to her school this afternoon, 10 blocks away, to pick her up. Mayor DeBlasio doesn't seem to have a clue about the hazards children and caregivers face in weather like this, which, because of ice and slippery conditions, is worse than just plain snow. And how can he keep schools open when there's a state of emergency?

  • Mike

    You blew it Mr. Mayor but I haven't given up on you yet. Everyone is entitled to a few mistakes. Just don't make it a habit.

  • Constituent

    The mayor talks about keeping kids safe and telling people to take public transportation where necessary as well as having parents make the judgement call on keeping their kids home. What about the teachers? Teachers who do not live locally and have no choice but to drive have to either put themselves in dangerous situations or be charged with a sick day. This mayor could care less about the kids, the teachers, and the parents and only wants to look good on record.

  • DONNA

    THIS WAS A SELFISH DECISION SENDING CHILDREN IN THE WORST WEATHER.AND MS.FARINA YOU GIVE HORRIBLE ANSWERS TO WHY SCHOOLS SHOULD BE OPEN AND I AM TIRED OF HEARING HOW LONG YOU WORK FOR THE BOARD OF ED.IF YOUR WORRIED ABOUT CHILDREN BEING FED,WHICH IS WHAT YOU SAID ON THE NEWS ,THEN WHAT ABOUT THE WEEKENDS AND HOLIDAYS,DO YOU CARE THAT KIDS EAT THEN.BOTH OF YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.HOW DO YOU GET AROUND,BY LIMO.?WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO CARE ABOUT THE SAFEFY OF THE KIDS.WHEN SOMEONE GETS HURT AND THEN ITS TO LATE.

  • janice

    unbelivable..so unsafe driving, people lives at stake ice rain so kids can have lunch, parents do that..he said use public transportation and sends teachers to school where most teachers could not get in leaving this for a babysitting day…great job mayor

  • Stephanie ZBennett

    So..risk their lives and those of the drivers, teachers and all school workers…so some kids can have a hot lunch.
    I say..BULL ..Bull Bull…you know the rest….

  • BxTeacher

    They're doing it for the parents, but the parents are furious about the decision. Stop with the tired crap about the hot meal. It's so condescending. So send the kids out in dangerous conditions so they can have a slice of pizza from the school cafeteria? And if they get hit by a car while going to school? If the bus has an accident while they're on it, going to school for the meal? All after school activities are open, and PSAL. Is that about the hot meal? Teachers have kids, too. Many of us live outside the city. We give up sick days or we chance driving in conditions that are downright scary. FAIL, FAIL, FAIL, and with stupid excuses, too. Why didn't we send kids out in the hurricane, since they didn't have a hot meal that day, either? Because the conditions outside were DANGEROUS. So dumb.

  • Alex

    These parents are sooo stupid. WAKE UP! YOU'RE PARENTS! START ACTING LIKE IT! Schools are open but That does not mean that you have to send your children!!! The governor said "Parents will make the decision." GROW UP! If your home, then let your children stay home. Otherwise, you have the option of letting your children go to school instead of paying for babysitting or missing work. People who have jobs had to go in today. In addition, some children live on three meals per day that they get from the school. Some children prefer to be in school were its warm. These circumstances may not apply to you because your rich but think about those who are not and stop complaining that your car is stuck and you hate driving in the snow. Make the decision not to send your children to school and GROW UP PARENTS!

    • Sammy

      Schools should not be a babysitting service… they are a place to learn and if teachers are unable to get to the schools then the kids basically sit with a substitute passing time… in my book thats called BABYSITTING not LEARNING… The city should not put children and workers lives at risk unnecessarily just so you can go to work… When you have children it is YOUR responsibility to take care of them — NOT THE SYSTEM.

  • Concerned parent

    The mayor talked Tuesday evening about how EVERYONE should stay off the streets today….yet the schools were open. I guess teachers and students don't count as people??? Yes, parents have the option to not send their kids, but teachers must put their lives in danger to make it in! NYC must stop this STUPID concept that the schools should remain open no matter what. A free meal is not worth putting anyone in harms way, The mayor owes NYC parents and teachers an apology!!

  • NYC Teacher

    I love the way everyone is urged to stay home because there is hazardous travel advisory but as a teacher I have to put my life in danger and leave my family at home because I'm supposed to be at work no matter what the circumstances. Mr. Mayor, teachers are people too and we deserve to able to stay safely in our homes during hazardous conditions!

    • Sammy

      ABSOLUTELY! To add, school bus children and bus workers (drivers and matrons/escorts) are also put in serious risk when they have to drive on unplowed secondary roads with school buses that tend to slip and slide very easily since they are not equipped with tire chains as garbage and some city buses are. In addition, when you have wet and ice mixing, power lines start coming down and we risk the safety of children walking to school and also school buses that may get either hit by this power lines and/or not see them under piles of snow! We cant put the cities children at risk on school buses! Mr. Mayor and Chancellor you both need to rethink the priorities by which you are making the call to open the schools on severe weather days… When the city is put under a "state of emergency" that should equal to CLOSING THE SCHOOLS!

  • Pam Karlin

    I think it is worth considering that parents may not have the choice to keep their children home when school is open. Employers must understand if roads are closed and school is closed. This puts parents in the position of choosing between their children’s safety and their job security. Of course, those who are affluent enough to stay home, who are self employed No matter what there is an issue for parents. But one solution risks lives and the other does not.

  • Victor

    Mr Mayor 40% of the students did not receive a education today . 60% probably watched a movie with a substitute teacher.Wouldnt it be better if 100% of the students received a education.

  • deblasioeatsdykes

    This man is a hybrid of John Lindsay and Abe Beame!

    He is a opportunistic selfish, self-seeking piece of dogcrap.

    Thanks for keeping the schools opened during a winter emergency you f____king idiot!

    Go choke on your pizza!

  • Charles

    Before everyone start complaining about why the school was kept open, please think about the unfortunate children that depend on the school to provide them a hot meal for that day. Not every family is as fortunate to be bless with wealth as yours. The city has been doing this for a long time. So stop thinking ONLY about yourself!!!! If you really feel bad about sending your kid to school on a winter day, just keep them home. You have a choice don't you? Why complain about benefit that the city provide just because you don't need it? Have you even consider maybe other may need it?

  • Sammy

    THATS RIDICULOUS AND A POOR EXCUSE TO KEEP THE SCHOOLS OPEN FOR BABYSITTING PURPOSES! SCHOOLS ARE NOT FOR BABYSITTING, THEY ARE FOR EDUCATING! SAYING THE SCHOOLS SHOULD BE KEPT OPEN SO THAT KIDS CAN GET A HOT MEAL IS SUCH A LOAD OF YOU KNOW WHAT…. ITS JUST SO PARENTS LIKE YOU DONT LOOSE A DAY OF WORK! THATS HAVING NO REGARD FOR THE CHILDRENS SAFETY AND/OR THE SAFETY OF THE PEOPLE THAT WORK SO HARD THROUGHOUT THE YEAR TO EDUCATE THEM AND ALSO FOR THOSE THAT TRANSPORT THEM SAFELY TO SCHOOL! PLEASE DONT HIDE BEHIND THOSE FAKE REASONS,.. "HOT MEAL"? YEAH RIGHT!

    • Charles

      I guess you are one of those teacher that want to get pay but don't want to work. But when the city decided to lay you off you wonder why. If you are a responsible adult, you know you have a choice to keep your children home? Nobody can force you to send your children to school. Blame others for you problem much? The world don't stop because there is people like you. Very soon the whole city should be shut down because of the weather according to your logic.. That includes the police, fireman, and transportation, etc.. because their safely is just as important?? No?? I guess you are one of those people that also quick to blame your children bad grade on the teacher performance instead of your lack of attention to your own kids? Maybe you also believe it is the government responsibilities to make sure people should earn at least minimum wage while the rest of the world wage are base on supply and demand?

      Going back to the original subject, what's wrong for the school to be open when the governor clearly said "Parents will make the decision."??

  • nabi

    I had to go to school when the ground was so icy and slippery I could have broken my neck. why can't the people of NYC just remove him from office? Isn't there anything we can do to stop this? I don't think the mayor realizes how many students are going to be eligible to vote during the next election, but I can firmly say that if he is stupid enough to run he lost my vote along with the votes of thousands of other students.

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