“NOT THIS SITE!” Parents Protest Refugee Centers in School Gyms

CITY COLLEGE–Parent protests appear to have forced New York City Mayor Adams to back off a plan to house migrants in school gyms. Protests began on Tuesday as parents shouted  “NOT HERE! NOT HERE! NOT HERE! NOT HERE!” outside of P.S. 189 The Bilingual Center. The gym conversion began the day before at P.S. 188 in Coney Island. At least six schools were planned to house migrants while students continue to go to classes. The city was said to be eyeing 20 more schools to house incoming asylum seekers.

New York City is struggling to house the large number of newcomers who managed to cross the border and make their way here. Mayor Adams and his administration expect an influx of asylum seekers after Title 42 expired on May 11.  That rule allowed United States officials to turn away migrants coming into the U.S.-Mexico border on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The outrage from parents at P.S. 189 stemmed from the city’s failure to communicate about its plans. The school had just constructed a new gym, outside of the main school building, and now students wouldn’t be able to use it. According to one of the mothers at the protest, the parents did not find out about the decision until the day before the protest when the students brought home letters from the school explaining that the gym already had cots set up and that the school would receive more supplies in the coming days.