Schools Chancellor Cathie Black joked that there's a simple solution to overcrowding in lower Manhattan - birth control.
"Could we just have some birth control for a while?" Black said Thursday night. "It would really help us."
Black earned chuckles for the joke at an overcrowding task force meeting, but downtown parents say the growing population of youngsters is no laughing matter.
"I always cringe when I hear that (joke)," said Public School 234 parent Tricia Joyce. "I understand the temptation to joke about it. But our situation isn't funny any more."
The problem, parents and advocates charge, is that the city offered incentives to developers to build without also increasing school seats.
Joyce was also upset that Black compared weighing the needs of different schools to the movie "Sophie's Choice."
"As we all know, one child dies (in the movie). This isn't optional," Joyce added. "We have a right to a public school seat."
A spokeswoman said Black didn't mean to make light of the important issue.
"Chancellor Black takes the issue of overcrowding very seriously, which is why she was engaged in a discussion with lower Manhattan parents on the subject," said spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz. "She regrets if she left a different impression by making an off-handed joke in the course of that conversation."
Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg on a Friday radio appearance defended Black's choice to attend a press conference on the snow instead of going on a scheduled visit to a Staten Island school.
"I thought it was important that she be there to answer questions, which she did, about school closings. So, sorry, but we will reschedule."
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Edited to include original NYDN article instead of blog post.
Also - To non-NYC folks, it's pretty obvious she is implying that poor, mostly POC folks (who make up much of the population of public schools) should be using birth control.