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Tears of joy, sadness and frustration at Juan Morel Campos Secondary School (I.S. 71)

November 21, 2011

Close to 300 parents, students, teachers, alumni and elected officials gathered at Juan Morel Campos Secondary School (JMCSS) on Wednesday, November 16 for an early engagement meeting to discuss the potential closure of the school.  Juan Morel Campos Secondary School, in particular the high school portion, is being targeted for obtaining C’s in their Progress Reports for the last three years.  In the past several years, the school has seen an increase in high-need students such as English language learners, students with special needs and the homeless population.  The school has also lost more than 1 million due to budget reductions during these three years.

The night began and ended with students and parents speaking out in support of their school while simultaneously indicating that budget cuts have taken away programs that helped in their success.  Students, parents and alumni were moved to tears as they told their stories of how Juan Morel Campos Secondary School helped them become successful in school and later on in life.  An alumni that had just recently moved from the Dominican Republic when he entered JMCSS recalled how lost he felt during the first initial months but how the staff had helped him to get adjusted.  A parent with a child of special needs spoke about the attention that was given to her child so that he wouldn’t drop out of high school, while a teacher acknowledged that she did not know any other school that is as welcoming to special needs students as Juan Morel Campos. The night concluded with a current student urging the Department of Education “to look at us and feel what we feel. We’re hurt.”

In attendance were Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, who exclaimed that “I.S. 71 is a great school and should be given more resources” and Councilmember Stephen Levin that told parents and students to “Stand up and fight for your school!”

Students and parents are planning to do just that.  Currently, they are mobilizing their school community to come to the Nov. 22 rally and press conference at Tweed Hall at 11:30.  Above is the video of Tiffany Munoz encouraging other schools to come.

Tiffany states that, “The stronger we are as a community, the better chance we have of being heard.”


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