New Brunswick Latino Parents Take Action and LatinoJustice Sues to Defend Access to Quality Education
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2020 CONTACT: Christiaan Perez, [email protected], 212-739-7581
New Brunswick, NJ – Today, LatinoJustice joined the parents, students and other community partners in the filing of a lawsuit to derail the plans to destroy the Lincoln Annex School, in an action in Middlesex County Superior Court entitled, Juarez, et al., v. New Brunswick Board of Education, et al. Parents and supporters made the announcement at a gathering at the Lincoln Annex Public School in New Brunswick, NJ at 1 p.m today. The litigation seeks to help defend the school from attempts to sell and demolish it by the New Brunswick Board of Education.
On April 28, 2020, the New Brunswick Board of Education approved a series of resolutions authorizing the sale and demolition of Lincoln Annex starting this summer and the relocation of the school’s 760 children – 94% of whom are Latino – to a converted warehouse school called the Pathway Campus, located on the outskirts of New Brunswick. Those students would be forced to wait for the construction of a new $55 million school in three years – all to make way for an expansion of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
The Lincoln Annex Public School was purchased then renovated less than four years ago at a total cost of $22 million. The plan to demolish the school was approved despite months of widespread opposition by both parents and community residents. The plan was approved with no transparency to the public and during the current coronavirus pandemic, which gravely reduced public participation in the process. Additionally, critical documents approved by the board have so far not been made available to the public.
“It’s hard for my daughter and she wanted me to get involved. She is suffering and cries about going to a warehouse school next year. We are both concerned about the impact this has on undocumented students,” said María Juárez, parent of 6th grader in the school’s gifted and talented program.
“There is an injustice here. The population is abused by local leadership. I’ve studied these issues historically,” said Lilia Fernández, tenured professor at Rutgers and New Brunswick resident.
“I have to get involved in this. It is not fair what they are doing to us,” said Julio Herrera Vivar, father of a 6th grader in the gifted and talented program.
“I was shocked when I heard the school was closing. I could not believe they will put kids in the warehouse. Lincoln Annex is nearby, and all our kids can walk to school, even passing high traffic streets. It will be worse in the warehouse. And even the replacement school site is not safe,” said María Chiquito, parent of a 5th grader.
“David meets Goliath once again. Every institutional player is prepared to ignore the immediate educational needs of Lincoln Annex students to make way for a corporate acquisition by the largest hospital network in New Jersey. These kids already lost one year of schooling because of COVID-19, now the school board wants to place them in an inferior educational setting for 3 more years. Basta ya. Enough,” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF
“At stake is the education and the future of the public school students at Lincoln Annex and from what I can gather they are the last people that the Board of Education is thinking about,” said Ivette Ramos Álvarez, Local Counsel.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For more information about LatinoJustice, visit www.latinojustice.org