From NY Post: The principal of Brooklyn’s PS 169 is in hot water over a swimming program for second-graders that exposes them to more than just the backstroke.
Parents at the Sunset Park School are aghast the tots are taking lessons at a Manhattan fitness center where the children gather in a locker room with the club’s sometimes-naked members, school insiders told The Post.
“Kids were seeing naked adults in the locker room. They don’t close the access to the public. Any member could come in. Adults could come in, change in the locker room while these kids are in the locker room at the same time,” one source said. “Teachers are in the locker room as well. They see the kids naked. The kids see each other naked.”
But principal EuJin Tang — who once made headlines for canceling Christmas at the school — told parents they could not opt out, the insider said.
Furious parents even called 311 to complain, the insider said.
Tang touted the weekly lessons at Asphalt Green in Battery Park City in a June letter to parents saying that in September students would be provided with “more real-world experiences. For example, every second grader will learn how to swim.”
The school has about 1,400 students in grades K-5 and serves mostly immigrant and low-income families. The student population is about 62% Asian and 33% Hispanic and half the kids are English language learners. There are about 300 students in second grade.
Tang held a midday meeting with parents in October and, in a seeming about-face, said the swimming lessons weren’t mandatory. But no notice went out to parents who couldn’t make the meeting, the insider said.
She wants this program so bad. She doesn’t want them to opt out,” one parent said.
Asphalt Green offers the “Waterproofing” program to children in public and private schools. “Over the past 25 years, Asphalt Green’s Waterproofing program has provided free and low-cost weekly swimming lessons to tens of thousands of public school students, in an environment that is safe, educational, and fun,” an organization spokesman said.
The organization said it offered the use of private family changing rooms to allay any concerns. But the PS 169 insider said kids must still wait their turn in the communal locker room where they can see the nude adults. Tang did not respond to requests for comment.
A DOE spokeswoman said only two families opted out and that “Swim lessons save lives, and this program helps ensure children, regardless of background, have access to them.”
Tang ruffled feathers shortly after arriving at the school in 2014 when she decided to scrap Santa Claus, celebrate the “fall harvest” rather than Thanksgiving and eliminate a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance over the school’s public address system.
The principal, then known as EuJin Jaela Kim, was forced to change her tune after a Post expose. But she stirred up controversy again in 2016 when she threw away 1,200 almost-new desks and replaced them with tables.
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