Updated 12/22/2009 04:27 PM
Bronx Students Protest Decision To Shut Down School
Dozens of students at Alfred E. Smith High School in Melrose held a protest Tuesday in response to the Department of Education's recommendation to phase out their school.
The vocational school teaches students trades like plumbing and carpentry.
Students say they're worried that if the school closes, they'll have nowhere else to go.
"I'm going to become a plumber and I get to go to the Local 1, which is one of the hardest locals to get into. I want the kids after me to get the same opportunity," said Alfred E. Smith High School student Abraham Sepulveda.
"There's only one other technical school in the Bronx, period. There's Bronx Tech, that's it. There's this one and that one," said parent Raynell Smith. "And it's already overcrowded over there. So it will be more overcrowded now."
Jeffrey Smalls, a contractor, said that if skilled workers are not trained in New York schools, the city will not offer any new skilled workers.
"The problems are if these schools are not training the kids with the electrical, with the carpentry, with the plumbing, with the auto mechanics, taking these programs out of New York public schools, out-of-state workers will take these jobs from New Yorkers," said Smalls.
DOE officials say only 45.7 percent of Alfred E. Smith High School's class of 2009 graduated, compared to 37.5 percent of the class of 2008.
The school expects to know by January 26 whether it will shut down.
According to the DOE, the school will stop accepting freshmen next September.