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During a back-and-forth on immigration during the Jan. 10 Iowa debate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis mentioned a Brooklyn, New York, school.
"Think about what's happening to our country. Just this week, we saw the news that a high s– that a school in Brooklyn, New York, had the kids stay home," DeSantis said. "They were not able to go to school, (were) told, ‘You can’t go get an in-person education.’ Why? Because the city's commandeering the school to house illegal aliens in it."
DeSantis’ characterization omits key details. He is referring to a single-day displacement because of severe weather. No migrants remained in the high school after Jan. 10.
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On Jan. 9, New York City officials evacuated nearly 2,000 asylum-seekers living in a tent shelter to James Madison High School to shelter during severe storms moving through the area. The city moved the migrants back to the tent shelter early the following morning.
Students were told that classes would convene virtually Jan. 10 because of the school's use as a "temporary overnight respite center."
"The NYPD (New York Police Department), Emergency Services Unit, and school administration have conducted a thorough safety check of the entire building, and our custodial staff has been hard at work deep cleaning for the return of our students tomorrow," the school said in a Jan. 10 statement on Facebook.
The decision sparked backlash from some parents and local officials, who said schools shouldn't be used as shelters and that Floyd Bennett Field, the tent shelter’s site, isn’t suitable for housing migrants because of its vulnerability to weather.
Classes at the high school are scheduled to resume in person Jan. 11.
NBC News, NYC decision to move migrants from tent shelter to a school amid storm draws fire, Jan. 10, 2024
Facebook, James Madison High School statement, Jan. 10, 2024