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TN parents reject unfair distribution of G&T seats

A crowd of angry parents filled the Community and Citywide Education Council’s District 8 office on Monday, June 9, after they received a slew of surprising letters the previous Friday.

At the heart of the matter is disappointing news surrounding their children’s non-acceptance into M.S. 101 despite many parents’ assertions that their children more than exceed the qualifications for the specialized school. 

“I was told he was accepted to the middle school of his choice but when the letter came, it said another school,” Castle Hill resident Sharon Thomas said about her son’s application to M.S. 101’s Gifted and Talented program.

Thomas, who declined to provide her son’s name, added that though he met all of the school’s requirements, the P.S. 72 fifth grader was denied not only his first, but also his second request.

The news hit the youngster hard.

“He was excited about all the stuff M.S. 101 had to offer,” Thomas explained, noting the facility’s small atmosphere, more conducive to a quality education, along with computer training, debate and robotics programs, educational trips and other programs aimed at challenging a young child’s mind. “You can’t deprive a child of that,” Thomas continued. 

Also comforting his distraught daughter was Throggs Neck resident Patrick McMonagle.

While he said his P.S. 304 fifth grader should have been a shoe in for M.S. 101’s Gifted and Talented program, after receiving the third highest combined state ELA and math test scores in the school, she was also denied her top two picks.

“It’s very aggravating to know she was passed over by other students with lower scores,” McMonagle said, referencing his daughter’s friends who willingly shared their results. “Why file for these bogus middle school applications if they are going to put whomever they want in our neighborhood schools.”

He continued that the thought of leaving her friends to attend another middle school was heartbreaking for his little girl.

“She just started breaking down and crying,” he explained.

Having attended P.S. 304 since preschool, in addition to living just blocks from the 2750 Lafayette Avenue location, McMonagle said he wasn’t going to give up on something as important as his daughter’s education.

Paperwork in hand, he joined the line of similarly disturbed parents at the District 8 office Monday morning.

“It’s just a big headache for a lot of parents,” he said about that problem that’s seemingly affecting the entire district.

Determined to prove his daughter’s rightful slot in M.S. 101’s Gifted and Talented program, McMonagle brought along her report cards, attendance sheets and test score results.

Sure enough, just 10 minutes after he presented his case, he received a call – she was in.

Though he never received a straight answer of why his daughter wasn’t accepted in the first place, McMonagle said, “It seemed like they were blaming it on the computer.”

Thomas is still waiting to hear of her son’s academic fate.

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