Brooklyn High School Postpones Winter Dance Following Migrant Takeover

'How is it our kids are being punished … because we have to house people that broke the law to get in here?' one parent asked

Eric Adams, others survey James Madison High School (X, @NYCMayor)
January 10, 2024

The New York City high school that canceled in-person classes to make space for migrants is also postponing its winter dance, which was scheduled to take place Wednesday night in the school's gym-turned-migrant shelter.

James Madison High School announced the postponement in a Wednesday Instagram post, which said the "James Madison Winter Wonderland Dance" would be "postponed until further notice." The dance was scheduled for Wednesday evening in the school gym, according to the James Madison High School website. Students purchased tickets to attend the dance at least three weeks in advance.




Nearly 2,000 migrants took shelter in the gym Tuesday night after city officials transferred them from their nearby tent shelter, which the city deemed unsafe due to a large storm. The migrants, who traveled to New York after entering the country via the southern border, cleared out of James Madison High School by 4:30 a.m. Wednesday and returned to their tent, according to City Hall.

Students did not receive live instruction on Wednesday while they were remote, according to an announcement from the school, which said teachers would only be available "via Zoom if requested prior by email." Regular in-person instruction is set to resume Thursday.

A New York City Public Schools spokesman denied that the migrant ordeal led to the winter dance's postponement, saying that the school "was cleaned and restored early this morning" and would have been ready to host students Wednesday night. In a Wednesday afternoon statement, however, James Madison High School suggested that its custodial staff was still working to clean up after the migrants.


"The NYPD, 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.

New York City mayor Eric Adams (D.) visited the high school Tuesday night and posted photos on social media that showed him surveying the crowd of migrants as they slept on the school gym's floor.

"On the ground at James Madison High School. Our @nycemergencymgt, @nychealthsystem, and @nycschools teams are doing a great job keeping asylum seekers safe and dry before they depart tomorrow morning," the mayor said.

Outraged parents, grandparents, and local politicians held a protest Wednesday morning raising alarm over the potential hygienic risk posed by the school's use as a migrant shelter. One parent, Martha, told the Daily Mail that the "kids are paying the price for this."

"I don't understand," Martha said. "How is it our kids are being punished and they have to face not going to school because we have to house people that broke the law to get in here?"