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Whites in the Front Door, Blacks in the Back Door- Racist -
Category: News
Whites in the Front Door, Blacks in the Back Door- Racist

If you're a white student and you arrive at the public elementary school building on 95th Street and Third Avenue, you'll probably walk through the front door. If you're a black student, you'll probably come in through the back.

It's a very New York kind of school facility: two completely different elementary schools sharing the same space.

The boxy, utilitarian structure was built in 1959 to house P.S.198, named after Isador and Ida Straus to commemorate the Congressman and Macy's department store owner and his wife, who both died in the 1912 sinking of the Titanic.

Since 1988, the building has shared space with another school, in a tradition that has rapidly increased under the reformist scheme of Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

In this case, it's the Lower Laboratory School for Gifted Education (P.S.77) that has been given space in the old Straus building?including the part that contains the front door.

Lower Lab is mostly composed of white students (69 percent) and Asian children, who are driven in from all over Manhattan.

Straus is zoned, which means it has to serve any child from the local neighborhood. For that reason, it's overwhelmingly Latino (47 percent) and black (24 percent).

Over the main entrance, the old sign for Straus remains, but Straus kids are told to go around to the back of the building.

Even Straus staff members are instructed by the NYPD School Safety Agent at the front door to use the rear entrance.

An African-American attorney, Granville Leo Stevens, who showed up at the front door recently on official Straus business, says he was only "grudgingly" allowed to enter the front door after he complained to the SS agent.

"It's the craziest thing I've ever seen," Stevens says.

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