Parents of students at P.S. 172 in Sunset Park say their children’s school gym should not be a place to house asylum seekers.

On Tuesday, they vowed to stay on school grounds around the clock to prevent the city from using the gym as a shelter.

What You Need To Know

  • Parents at P.S. 172 in Sunset Park rallied after drop-off Tuesday, calling on the city to stop using active public school gyms as shelters for asylum seekers

  • According to parents, physical education classes at P.S. 172 will now be in the cafeteria, and after-school sports are cancelled

  • Migrants will be housed in at least six public school buildings in Brooklyn, in addition to one former school on Staten Island
  • The mayor says the city is looking at 20 school sites to house migrants from the southern border

“We are going to be here, even if it is three or four in the morning, because the buses go out at night when all the parents and kids are away,” said Aramis Rosa, a parent with two students at P.S. 172. “So we are here expecting the buses and we are not going to allow this to happen. We are here to put up a fight to not allow them to come into the school and take the space of our kids.”

Parents who spoke with NY1 said they were informed of the decision on Sunday evening through an email from the school.

They were told their children’s physical education classes would be moved to the cafeteria, and after-school soccer and basketball would be cancelled while the gym was occupied.

At a rally after at drop-off Tuesday morning, some young students had messages for the mayor.

“I want the immigrants to have somewhere to go, but it is not really fair if that place is our gym,” said 8-year-old Maddie Case.

Six-year-old Emilla Chan pleaded with the mayor: “Mayor Adams, please give us our gym back. We really need it.”

The gym at P.S. 172 is in a separate building from classrooms, but parents say safety is still a top concern.

Sunset Park has a large immigrant population. Many parents said they welcome asylum seekers, housing them in their small school where space is already at a premium is unfair.

Additionally, they said they feel like their community is being overburdened with this crisis. Across the street from the school are two hotels sheltering migrants.

“He needs to be a little more fair to Sunset Park,” said Teresa, a parent who once had children at P.S. 172. “We already have a hotel full of migrants right there on the corner, why another one back to back? You wouldn’t do this in another neighborhood. Why here? It is so unfair.”

At least six public schools in Brooklyn and one former school on Staten Island have received supplies to create a makeshift shelter for migrants.

Parents at other schools in Brooklyn also organized rallies Tuesday.

Mayor Eric Adams said on “Mornings On 1” Tuesday that the city is eyeing 20 additional school sites as possible shelters.

"We have not made a final determination on all the gyms but [the gyms] we are looking at are separate from the actual school buildings,” Adams said. “They are independent from the school buildings. They are not in buildings where schools are. And we have an order, almost an order of where we have to go as the crisis continues. This is one of the last places we want to look at, none of us are comfortable with having to take these drastic steps."

Adams maintains the city is out of space to house migrants.

As for when asylum seekers will arrive at P.S. 172, that is still unclear, but parents said they are going to do everything they can to stop it.