Manhattan school with many disabled students being moved to less-accessible location by DOE

School officials say their students will also lose access to an accessible playground and their outdoor space will be replaced with an indoor gymnatorium. 

Ashley Mastronardi

Apr 24, 2024, 11:32 PM

Updated 35 days ago

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A school in Manhattan that has many disabled students is being moved to a less-accessible location by the Department of Education.
Surya Ramudit is just one of 170 West Prep Academy students who are being moved from the space they share with P.S. 145.  West Prep officials say 42% of their students have disabilities.   
“I enjoy playing and talking with my friends outside because you have the sky, the fresh air,” Ramudit told News 12 New York. 
School officials say their students will also lose access to an accessible playground and their outdoor space will be replaced with an indoor gymnatorium. 
“Even prisoners get to go outside at least once a day and we want to put some of the most vulnerable Black, brown, special needs children in a school where they never get to go outside or at best maybe in the street? That to me is unconscionable,” West Prep Academy parent Charmien Fugelsang told News 12 New York. 
They will likely be moving to a space at nearby Ascension Church, but school officials say it’s inaccessible and only has stairs.  If they make the move, volunteer backgammon teacher, Antoinette-Marie Williams, won’t be able to access the building. 
“If we move, there is no accessible entrance for me and my Ferrari,” Williams joked as she pointed to her red motorized scooter. 
P.S. 145 declined an on-camera interview, but the Department of Education told News 12 New York in part in a statement:   “With an increase in enrollment at West Prep Academy and P.S.145, it's clear that both schools need more space to accommodate additional students... And although we have not been made aware of any student accessibility issues, we will continue to work closely with students, staff, and families to ensure that their needs are heard and continue promoting a culture that allows all students to thrive." 
Sources close to the DOE say the superintendent will explore options to have an outdoor space. 
“It’s coming up and it hasn’t been resolved yet and I don’t think we have enough clout to stay where we are,” Williams added.    West Prep Academy recently held a rally to protest the move.  They say if the DOE doesn’t change course, they’ll have to move at the end of the year. 


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