Walcott attacked the labor action as harming children and slammed the striking workers as selfish.
Meanwhile at PS 50 in Staten Island, the following was occurring:
OAKWOOD — Parents of children at P.S. 50, in Oakwood, rallied outside the school Friday to demand the city replace the PCB light fixtures in the school after light fixtures ruptured in two classrooms in January.
Peter Whalen, 6, a third-grader at the school, said that on Monday, the lights went out in his classroom and when he looked at the light fixture above him he saw smoke.
“I looked up [and] it popped and then started sizzling,” he said. “As it was sizzling it was smoking, white smoke.”
Peter said that another light caught on fire too, and the one he was sitting under came down right above his head.
Parents complained that they were never initially notified by the school of the Jan. 14 incident, and only found out about it when their kids came home from school talking about it. Parents said they were upset that the kids were going to go in the same room the next day.
“We don't want out kids going back in that classroom,” said Paul Whalen, Peter’s father.
After getting dismissive answers from the school’s administration, Paul Whalen contacted New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, which already has a 2011 lawsuit pending against the Department of Education about speeding up the removal of PCB lights in schools.
Christina Giorgio, staff attorney with the NYLPI working on the case, said that the DOE is required to tell parents immediately about any incidents, and said the DOE should work on replacing all PCB lights in schools before more situations like this happen again.
“It is a very clear example of the Department of Education acting irresponsibly,” Giorgio said.
“The Department of Education knows full well that these lights are leaking and many of them are going to rupture like this," she said. "This is not the end of the situation. This is the start of what's going to be a snowballing of recurring events like this in these schools.”