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Proposed Boys and Girls Co-Location to be Named After Nelson Mandela

 If approved, the Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice will open in 2014.
The Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The city will name a proposed co-location inside of Boys and Girls High School in Bed-Stuy after the late Nelson Mandela, the mayor announced on Friday.

If approved, the Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice will be the third school to occupy the 1700 Fulton St. building, after Boys and Girls and the new Research and Service High School, which opened in September.

Mandela, who died on Thursday in Johannesburg at the age of 95, visited Boys and Girls High School as part of a world tour in June 1990, just four months after being released from a South African prison in which he spent 27 years for opposing the country's apartheid government.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg hailed Mandela as "one of the most transformative and influential figures in modern history" after the former world leader's death, and on Friday said the school would be a monument to Mandela's belief in "equal opportunity and access to education."

"President Mandela once said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,’" read a statement from Bloomberg.

"Renaming the campus he visited shortly after his release from prison will forever serve as a reminder that our mandate as public servants is to provide our children with the weapons they need for a successful future and help us build a city of inclusion and opportunity that [Mandela] could be proud of.”

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the school would help carry on Mandela's legacy, and that he hoped students would learn to emulate the former South African president.

“Every time they enter and exit its doors, our students at this new school will be reminded of the values he personified," a statement from Walcott read.

But the proposed school has already caused some controversy.

In October, Boys and Girls Principal Bernard Gassaway said he would consider stepping down if the city went ahead with the co-location, telling DNAinfo New York that he was never consulted on the new school and that he was skeptical it would fit with his educational vision.

The Panel for Education Policy will vote on the proposed co-location on Dec. 11 at the Taft Educational Campus, 240 E. 172 St. in the Bronx. If approved, the school will open in September 2014.