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Rally for East Ramapo Public Schools

96 percent of children attending East Ramapo public schools are students of color — a clear case of the same environmental racism seen in Flint, Michigan 

Following the announcement that East Ramapo public schools would end all summer school programs to address hazardous asbestos recently found in the buildings, on Tuesday, June 18 at 7 p.m., the New York Civil Liberties Union, East Ramapo parents, and students will rally to demand Albany lawmakers pass critical legislation to save the floundering school district. The sudden cancellation of all summer school programs in the district leaves thousands of vulnerable students without school credits, educational programs, or meals for over two months.

Three years ago, East Ramapo’s Spring Valley High School was closed for months after the sudden discovery of dangerous mold in the building, and last year, the NYCLU rang the alarm bell on reports regarding widespread lead contamination in East Ramapo public schools’ sinks and water fountains. The lead-contaminated fixtures have been known to the district for eight years with no move from the school board to fund repairs. These cascading environmental hazards are the result of a local school board whose members send their kids to private school and refuse to raise local taxes to fund the public school, as well as apathy from the state government which has failed to heed calls to take over the school district.

The ongoing situation in East Ramapo schools is frighteningly reminiscent of the environmental racism seen in Flint, Michigan. 96 percent of students attending public schools in the district are Black, Latinx, or Asian, and over 80 percent come from economically disadvantaged households. Albany has turned its back on this district, failing to pass fiscal controls during the legislative session this year. Last year, East Ramapo added more than 1,000 students to its public school rolls, nearly all of whom recently immigrated to the U.S. If the state does not act quickly, it is effectively endorsing the denial of the right to an education to thousands of children of color in this district.

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