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'Which one of you put my child in danger?' Parents demand answers

Furious Ridge Street Elementary School parents are demanding answers about when their children can return to in-person learning safely.

News 12 Staff

Sep 22, 2021, 10:13 AM

Updated 1,000 days ago

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Furious Ridge Street Elementary School parents are demanding answers about when their children can return to in-person learning safely.
At a contentious school district meeting Tuesday night, officials said they still don't have that answer.
Blind Brook School District officials say they submitted a temporary application to the state to bring students back to the school next week, but that plan has hit a snag.
The plans they submitted to the state Tuesday were not fully approved - so it could take several more weeks to fix the building issues.
An inspector from the state is scheduled to be at the school today to check in on the progress.
Ridge Street Elementary closed last week when the building was found to be not up to code, with serious fire and safety hazards - so kids have been remote learning since Tuesday.
Parents are furious and pointing fingers at the board. "I would like to know which one of you put my child in danger?" fumed Barry Friedman, parent.
“Accusing this board of willfully sending children to an unsafe school means you believe I would put my own child in danger. I hope we don’t have to go there. I will tell you that I’m sorry for all this. I feel what you feel—we all do, the entire board. And none of us will rest until we see our children back in school,” replied Jeff Mensh, board member.
District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Brimstein told parents at Tuesday's meeting that he and the board are working as quickly as possible to get kids back in the classroom. "Our number one priority again is, and always has been, to resolve these issues, finish this project, and bring the kids in the building," he said.
But some parents say the school board knew long ago there were problems, and they just didn’t tell them. 
“Someone is to blame, and it seems as though everyone is just pointing fingers at everyone else. You’re saying the state is making you jump through hoops, but we have experts, architects, you hired people—someone should have known, and I’m finding it hard to believe no one can give us a timeline and no one knew until all of a sudden late Wednesday night there were problems,” said one parent.

“There are probably those who think that we’re liars, that we’re sociopaths, that we knew all along that our kids weren’t supposed to be there. I hope the community of people we represent know that that’s not the case,” said School Board President Scott Jaffee.
The district also submitted an application to temporarily move fifth grade students to the middle/high school building and is waiting to hear back. Officials are confident the shift could happen as early as next week.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Thursday where an update is expected.


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