Charter school fights back with own rally

In midst of stop orders, vandalism, school still pushes on


International Leadership Charter School has faced a backlash from the community along with vandalism of the construction of its new middle school. But now, the administration is slapping back, just days before another rally against them was scheduled.

On Wednesday at 306 W. 232nd St., the Parents United for the International Leadership Charter Schools and the Black, Latinx, Asian Charter Collaborative planned to join the high school administration at a rally planned three days before an anti-charter school rally is planned. They want the right to build and give the Kingsbridge community the opportunity for quality education.

Since the charter school groundbreaking last fall, they have continued to hit roadblocks and setbacks. Not only did the city’s building department issue a partial stop work order caused by unsafe conditions in March due to flooding but the construction site was vandalized.

It was reported to the police on March 1 at 5 p.m. an unidentified individual “glued and taped the master lock” in front of the construction site at 306 W. 232nd St., DCPI said.

There is another report on file on March 17 at 11:30 p.m.; another unidentified individual entered the location through the rear of the property, cut surveillance wires, cracked one of the cameras and put glue in the bolt lock.

It is unclear if the same individual caused the incident, but a similar weapon was glue.

The Stop the Charter School group denied any involvement in vandalism to the property. “On March 6, the builder’s excavation caused a 100-foot crack in the parking lot of the adjacent property resulting in a Stop Work Order that is still in place.

“We strongly deny their allegations of committing acts of vandalism. We unequivocally condemn vandalism of any kind as it violates our values of community engagement,” the group said in a statement.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz was unaware of any vandalism and called it a ruse while councilman Eric Dinowitz was aware but considered them to be “rumors.” Also, Palma Repole, an educator at Ethical Culture Fieldston School who is also heavily involved with the “Stop the Charter School” campaign, was unaware. Jackson said, “don’t believe the hype.”

The anti-charter school petition has a goal of 1,000 signatures and currently has 758 supporters, with 616 from the Bronx.

Parents United has been aware of the campaign and claims it gives a misconception and inaccurate vision for the new middle school.

“We are providing a high-quality education to disenfranchised communities of color to help them thrive and become contributors to a greater society,” said CEO Elaine Ruiz López in a statement in April. “We cannot afford to allow ‘nimbyism’ to deny an education to middle school students who live in the Kingsbridge community.”

In a rally on April 17 with around 100 people hosted by the assemblyman, councilman and Jackson, the assemblyman said López is playing an “ethnic card.”

He charges that the school is trying to attract more students from throughout the city, not just from the local neighborhoods.

“Listen, kids are kids, I don’t care, where they’re from, except if they’re not from nearby,” the assemblyman said. “There’s a whole lot of cars and buses and traffic coming in. They (the school) promised it was going to be neighborhood kids from Kingsbridge and Marble Hill.”

“It is unfortunate that some of our local elected leaders have resorted to what appears to be political theatre by taking sides with the anti-charter school group of individuals,” a news release from Parents United said. “They have turned their backs on their own constituents — hundreds of students and families of color who vote! The parents United for the International Leadership Charter Schools and school representatives have addressed each of the concerns and false narratives one by one.”

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