High Schools in same building dispute access to pool

The John Jay Educational Campus in Park Slope has something that few New York City high schools have — a fully operational swimming pool. However, despite housing four independent high schools in the building, administrations only allow one of the schools to use the pool.

Millennium High School, a Manhattan-based school that expanded to Brooklyn in 2011, has access to the pool and uses it frequently. And while students from the campus’ three other schools — Secondary School For Law, Secondary School For Journalism and Park Slope Collegiate — are not allowed to use the pool, the teachers, students and administrators give differing reasons about why this is the case.

“Right now we need a lifeguard,” said Eileen Coppola, the principal of Secondary School for Journalism. “It’s an arduous task though. My biggest concern is the safety of the students.”

Many students at Secondary, including junior, Divine Williams, want to become better swimmers, yet have not been provided the opportunity.

“Since 7th grade I’ve wanted to use the pool but they say we need a lifeguard,” said Williams. “I would want the pool to be used as an elective class.”

Certain students at Millenium are not aware of the difference in access. “It’s a class. There isn’t a certain criteria you have to meet,” said Patrick Lapisco, a student at Millennium. His understanding is that anyone could use the pool.

However, currently, the only other people that use the pool besides Millennium is an outside organization called Camp Olympia. The program offers swimming lessons for local children on weekends and charges $180 per child for its Saturday and Sunday classes.

“As far as I know, the schools have never been able to use it,” said former history teacher Mr. Auponte. “I feel it’s a disservice to the students.”

“There hasn’t been any news but I feel it’s not right,” said 9th grade math teacher Mr. Kelly. “The pool should be used as a class.”

Principal Coppola said that the school plans to have the pool open to Secondary’s students by January or mid-winter.