Friday, April 11, 2008

Brooklyn's Arabic School to Hit the Road Again?

Why does this sound so familiar?

The Brooklyn Eagle reports that parents from Fort Greene's P.S. 287 and the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) came together at City Hall Wednesday "to express their mutual outrage over the Department of Education’s plan to move KGIA into the building already occupied by P.S. 287."

Parents say the DOE “disrespected” their communities by “unilaterally” deciding to move KGIA into P.S. 287 without consulting parents or community representatives first.

It's nice to see how the DOE can bring people together this way.

Khalil Gibran International Academy is (was?) the City's first "Arabic-themed" school. But there's been no end of controversy, and parents say if the DOE doesn't give them more support, they'll pull their kids out.

Is it possible that all that anti-Arabic hysteria is scaring the P.S. 287 parents? Shouldn't the DOE have prepared for that possibility, since it's happened before?

Pictured: The Khalil Gibran International Academy's present home on Dean Street in Boerum Hill. DOE wants to move it out of this building (which it shares with two other public schools) and into an elementary school in Fort Greene.
Photo by MK Metz

Khalil Gibran Controversy Now Takes a New Form Brooklyn Eagle

- Judge Rules Against Ex-Principal of Brooklyn Arabic School
- Arabic School, Taxi Strike, and Other Brooklyn News in Brief
- Brooklyn in Brief -- Weekend Edition
- Rally in Support of Brooklyn's Arabic School Principal
- Brilliant or Crazy? Jewish Principal Appointed for Brooklyn's Arabic School
- Brooklyn's Arabic School Principal Resigns in 'I-Word' Flap
- Arabic-Themed School Finds a Home
- Brooklyn in Brief, Monday P.M.
- DOE to 'Cram' Arab-Themed School into Slope Elementary School

5 comments:

Involved Parent said...

It is not that at all and if you would take time to talk to the people we have spoken to at Khalil. For example, the Principal and the parents. You would know they don't feel that we are scared of them or have any ill will toward them. This is why we don't want them or any high school sharing space with us. Click on my name and read our story. See our story the way it is wont sell newspapers. But the way the media spins it, of course it would sell.

Involved Parent said...

My comment should have read like this:

It is not that at all and if you would take time to talk to the people we have spoken to at Khalil. For example, the Principal and the parents. You would know they don't feel that we are scared of them or have any ill will toward them.

This {http://ourkidscomefirst.blogspot.com/}is why we don't want them or any high school sharing space with us.

Click on my name and read our story. See our story the way it is, wont sell newspapers. But the way the media spins it, of course it would sell.

mcbrooklyn said...

You are right. The Eagle story clearly reports that the parents of the two schools are now united -- against the DOE.
But a few(admittedly racist)web sites have reported some comments made by parents at the initial PTA meetings that were pointedly anti-KGIA. (Ex: "...parent challenged Harries to ask the parents if they wanted their children to learn Arabic.")
So my impression was that there is some anti-Arabic/KGIA sentiment -- or at least fear of the whole controversy -- at PS287.
Did actual parents make these remarks? Please clear this up for us.

involved parent said...

When we told Mr. Harries about certain things that we have been subjected to by the current high school and the incidents we were talking about regarding the little children. He acted as if he just wasn't listening to us and that is what started a heated discussion. His arrogance!!

That parent who made that comment was simply stating that you didnt think to ask/tell us anything when you put SLJ high school at P.S. 287and now you are doing the same thing again. "Did you ask the parents if they wanted their children to learn arabic?" That comment came with a list of questions- "Did you ask us if we wanted another high school here?" NO. "Did you ask us how we have been with the current high school?" NO. "Did you ask us if we wanted our children to learn Spanish or Swahili?" "Did you ask us about what we need in this elementary school before you came up with your decision?" For example, we could use a science lab because we dont have one. Mr. Harried then proceeded to tell us that our kids would benefit from the Gibran Academy.

Which is fine. But it's still a high school and we don't want another high school in our building. And Mr. Harries told us in a way that was very dismissive of all our greivances of what we are currently going thru and all the questions we asked about why we werent part of the process. Contrary to what is said in the papers - we were not included from the beginning. He acted as if we never told him anything. This is how he proceeded -I (Mr. Harries)heard you but... anyways lets go back to my plan...was his attitude. And that parent was angry because of Mr.Harries arrogant attitude. But that question was never meant in the way it reads in print. You really had to be there to understand. I wish someone would have recorded it and once played that matter would be dismissed but unfortunately it wasnt.

As a matter of fact, at every single one of our meetings so far, the only person that has ever brought up "Arabic" "Muslim" or "Islam" in our conversations has always been Mr. Harris. We always have to stop him from going in that direction of making it about race or religion. I can't stress it enough how it really isnt about race or religion. We have Arabic children in our school as well. We are not trying to exclude anyone. It is truely about space and safety.

Unfortunately, we can't control how people run with stories. It angers me everytime I see the newspapers start off the story with Arabic School ...I feel that they just love to instigate and I dont think that it's fair to BOTH schools. The Gibran Academy should have been given it's own building so that they wouldn't have to be shuffled around like this. It's just not fair.

Do you really think that it is healthy/safe to have over 400 high school children in ONE floor of a three story building? Because that is what the DOE is projecting that Gibran would have I think in 2012 and the DOE swears up and down that they wont take over the elementary school. But how can they not? We have been down this road already. It's not fair to the parents and the children of both schools.

We also found out that Mr. Harries has not been keeping the Gibran parents in the loop. They found out about this decision in the newspapers. What kind of respect did the DOE give them? And the DOE is constantly doing this to parents.

In the end, people will believe what they want to believe. For us, the Gibran Academy understands that our problem is not with them at all and that is who opinion matters to us in the end not the media. I hope this clears some things up. Have a good day. :)

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