Parents Left in the Lurch After DOE Suddenly Shutters Clinton Hill Pre-K

By Janet Upadhye on September 3, 2014 2:53pm 

 Students play with brightly colored toys during class at the Child Development Support Corporation in Clinton Hill.
Students play with brightly colored toys during class at the Child Development Support Corporation in Clinton Hill.
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Child Development Support Corporation

CLINTON HILL — Parents at nine pre-K programs whose openings were canceled by the city at the last minute after FDNY and building inspectors found some of them unsafe for small children scrambled to find last-minute solutions for their children on Wednesday.

Parent Magdalena Hernandez, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, was among the approximately 20 parents who had signed their kids up for the program at Child Development Support Corporation (CDSC) in Clinton Hill — only to find that it won't open as planned Thursday.

"It's the middle of the day on Wednesday," said Hernandez, whose son Pedro was scheduled to start pre-K at CDSC. "I have to work in the morning — what will I do?"

Hernandez, who does not speak English, said she chose the school for her son because the pre-K teacher speaks both English and Spanish.

She added that her daughter, who is 13 years old, also attended the school and had a good experience there.

"I felt very safe with this school," she said.

A pre-K teacher, who declined to give her name, sat with parents in her classroom to calm their worries but she said she had very few solutions to offer.

"I don't know what to tell them," she said. "I don't even understand why we will not be open tomorrow."

The surprise announcement also left teachers in the lurch, including one veteran staffer who said she was preparing the student's activities when she heard the news.

"This school has been in the community for ten years," she said. "We are all very frustrated and confused."

The Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for specific reasons why CDSC will not open this year.

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