Archdiocese to close St. Brigid School in June

St. Brigid School, at E. Seventh St. and Avenue B. Photos by Bob Krasner

BY BOB KRASNER AND ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | “Shocked and saddened” pretty much described the prevailing mood at the soon-to-be-closed St. Brigid School on Wednesday afternoon. As parents left the school with their children, they stopped to express their disbelief.

“Really shocking,” said Genay Jackson, while holding her twins’ hands.

“I was shocked,” admitted Meg Tarter, whose 5-year-old is in his third year there. “It will be a sad day when it closes,” she added.

“We were totally blindsided,” said Andrew Martinez, who has two kids in the school and a third that he had assumed would be going there.

Students are devastated at the news.

Recounting how he found out about the impending closure, Martinez said, “They sent a letter home in the kids’ bags and then sent a text telling us to be sure to read the note.”

“I feel sad,” said 10-year-old Samantha. “It’s kind of depressing. People are protesting, but I don’t know if it will do anything.”

Jacob, 9, echoed her sentiments, as did all the kids this reporter spoke to.

“I feel sad,” he said. “I don’t want the school to close.”

Parents mentioned the school’s “wonderful” programs. Mom Jennifer Gonzalez noted that it’s “the only Catholic school in the neighborhood that provides financial assistance.”

The plan is for the school’s students to be absorbed by other local Catholic schools.

Ten-year-old Jack said simply, “It’s just sad. It’s like my home.”

The news broke on Mon., Feb. 4. The New York Post reported that the 163-year-old St. Brigid will be closing at the end of the school year, in June.

The school was another valued option besides public school for families of limited financial means.

“While we sincerely regret ever having to close any schools, the goal is to strengthen the remaining institutions and preserve Catholic education in New York for years to come,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, in a statement.

St. Brigid is one of two schools in Manhattan slated for closure. Rose of Lima Elementary School farther Uptown will be closing, as will Our Lady Help of Christians Elementary School on Staten Island, plus St. Nicholas of Tolentine Elementary School and St. Joseph Elementary School in the Bronx.

Students and parents leaving St. Brigid School on Wednesday afternoon.

The archdiocese said the schools are being closed because efforts to “maintain the operation and financial viability” of them were not successful.

“We understand the impact this will have on families,” said Dolan. He added that the Church will continue to provide pastoral and educational guidance to all those affected by the school closures.

Students from the soon-to-be-closed schools will be absorbed into neighboring Catholic schools.

In the Archdiocese of New York, more than 62,000 students from pre-K through 12th grade attend a Catholic school.

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