Last night, parents of students who attend public schools at 345 Dean Street in Brooklyn convened for an emergency meeting with the Department of Education. The emergency was the fact that the DOE wants to move an Arabic-themed specialized school, named after the poet Khalil Gibran, into the building.
Parents generally stuck to arguing that another school would overcrowd the school. The Post quoted Janet Filemyr, whose child attends sixth grade at the Math and Science Exploratory School in the building, "I think our country needs to better understand Arabic culture and this is a wonderful way to do it, but if it's at the expense of future artists, scientists and mathematicians, then that's wrong." Others said that the DOE had made empty promises of new/updated facilities at their children's school. The Sun reports that Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott said it's "unfortunate that this school is being singled out" given there are many other specialized language schools. It should be noted that the Sun's columnist Alicia Colon wrote a column damning the proposed school: "How delighted Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda must have been to hear the news — that New York City, the site of the worst terrorist attack in our history, is bowing down in homage to accommodate and perhaps groom future radicals... I say break out the torches and surround City Hall to stop this monstrosity."
The DOE said that the school "will open as planned." According to their numbers, the building has a capacity of 1,900 students, and the Math and Science High School's attendance, along with the Brooklyn High School of Arts' attendance, totals 1,220. The Khalil Gibran school would house 60 to 80 students; however, no students have signed up yet.