Call for NY Schools to Close Gets 27,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook

February 13, 2014 Updated: October 8, 2018

NEW YORK—The decision to keep the New York City schools open amid the snowstorm on Feb. 13 brought a heap of criticism on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

A Facebook page called “Close NYC Schools During Snow Emergencies” garnered more than 27,000 “likes” in about 18 hours.

The page fashions pictures of empty classrooms, children and school buses overcoming the elements, and a fair share of joke pictures.

De Blasio and Fariña defended the move saying many parents depend on schools to keep their children safe while they go to work. Fariña also said children can be late, but absences won’t be pardoned.

City’s teachers union president Michael Mulgrew issued a statement saying it was a mistake to keep the schools open. “I understand the desire to keep schools open,” he said. “The only thing that trumps that is safety.”

Preliminary data shows attendance of 44.6 percent on Feb. 13, compared to over 91 percent the day before. The average attendance on Staten Island was 25.8 percent, 37.1 percent in Bronx, 44.5 percent in Brooklyn, 45.5 percent in Queens, and 52.3 percent on Manhattan.

Regular updates of the Facebook page sport Fariña’s morning remark that “it is absolutely a beautiful day out there.”

“The mayor and chancellor should come to Staten Island and spend the night here before the next storm! Then maybe they can experience it from another angle!” reads a comment by Lisa Hanna.

“Think they will shut schools down tomorrow? I don’t see how I’m going to get to school from the northern suburbs,” Tara Suzanne commented.

Some Facebook users also commented that schools they know don’t serve hot meals on days when attendance is low, denting Fariña’s argument that many kids wouldn’t get a hot lunch unless they come to school.

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