Clocks and PA System Have Been Broken in Harlem School All Year
HARLEM — Parents at an elementary school are furious that the building's clocks are broken and the public address system only works in some rooms, a situation they say is not only dysfunctional but dangerous.
At P.S. 242 on West 122nd Street, the announcement system, which is tied to its clocks, is broken in several classrooms. The mounted analog wall clocks do not work anywhere in the building, PTA president Miyonna Milton said.
The problem at the 218-student school has persisted since September, she said.
"With everything going on in school buildings, if anything were to happen, people are going to be missing information," said Milton of the broken PA system. "How do you secure children?"
Principal Denise Gomez, who did not return a request for comment, told concerned parents to lodge a complaint with 311, according to Milton.
But calling 311 isn't enough, Milton said. The complaint "goes in a file and you’re put on a list."
Theresa Hammonds, a Community Education Council 3 member and also a parent at the school, agreed.
"It is ridiculous that a public school has to tell its parents to call 311 to get clocks fixed," she said.
Gomez has also sought outside help for the problem, to no avail, Hammonds said.
"Parents have been frustrated that something as simple as getting clocks fixed in a school where children must learn to tell time... seems impossible to get fixed," she added.
The young students aren't learning the value of keeping track of time, a key organizational skill, parents said.
"How do you teach a child to tell time if none of the clocks are working?" Milton said.
Future Leaders Charter School, which shares the building, is also having issues with its clocks, added Milton, who met with the charter's leaders at a regularly scheduled building meeting last month.
The charter school's principal did not return request for comment.
Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said the issue won't be cleared up until school is out.
"Our Facilities Division will repair the problem over the summer," she said in a statement. "They are ordering parts and then will reprogram the clocks. The repair also includes the PA system."