New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Vanessa Murdock

WCBS 2 Debate Continues To Swirl About Return To In-Person Classes For All Public School Students This Fall by Vanessa Murdock

Debate Continues To Swirl About Return To In-Person Classes For All Public School Students This Fall

As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reports, September will be a big month for Lily, 5, and her mom Jennifer Rescalvo. Lily starts kindergarten and says she can’t wait for the playground.

Jennifer says she’s ready for full time in-person learning.

“She needs that interaction with other kids,” she said.

“The plan is to get them back in action. I don’t want to go through what I go through already last year,” said parent Rafet Olian.

Olian needs a break, and 6-year-old Sami is excited to go back.


“I can see all my friends and read,” Sami said.

“Our health care leadership has been very, very clear; our kids suffer when they are not in school,” Mayor Bill de Blasio saidTuesday.

De Blasio said in-person learning will get students back on track with their education, offer support to heal post-pandemic, and provide the food so many New York City School students rely on. The mayor says there’s enough room for all students to safely return to in-person learning.

“That three-foot rule is there now; we will make it work,” he said. “We proved that our gold standard of health and safety measures works.”

De Blasio added safety standards won’t change, but circumstances have.

“A huge number of people have now been vaccinated. A much, much better environment than what we had to deal with last year,” he said.

Despite the positive outlook projected by the mayor, the City Council education committee wants the DOE to “offer a fall remote option.”

Council member and public school dad Ben Kallos says parents are asking for it.

CBS New York Council Bill Proposes Ban On RoundUp Chemical Glyphosate Amid Cries Of ‘Environmental Racism’ by Vanessa Murdock

Council Bill Proposes Ban On RoundUp Chemical Glyphosate Amid Cries Of ‘Environmental Racism’

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The city has been decreasing its use of chemical pesticides over the past several years, but now there’s a call to stop using them entirely.

One organization says they’re using them more in communities of color declaring “environmental racism,” reports CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.

“Poison Parks” is the claim of a special report just released by The Black Institute. They focus on New York City’s use of the chemical pesticide glyphosate, a likely carcinogen that’s found in the weed killer Roundup.

The Black Institute asserts the city engaged in “environmental racism” by using the pesticide more frequently and at higher concentrations in parks used by people of color.

“The specific problem is that folks on these communities, on a nice day they don’t go to the Hamptons upstate – they go to their local park in the city around them,” said Dan Hogle, campaign organizer at The Black Institute.

“The racial analysis in this report does not align with reality,” said the Parks Department when asked about the institute’s accusations.

The report, released Wednesday demands Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city council “ban the use of glyphosate.” It comes the same day members of the city council held a hearing on Bill 1524.

“This bill basically says glyphosate and other carcinogens can’t be sprayed on city property, particularly parks,” said District 5 Council Member Ben Kallos, the bill’s author.

Kallos introduced a similar bill years ago after listening to kindergarteners from PS 290 sing. Some of the same students showed up to testify.

“It will affect a lot of people in a positive way,” said Jesse Balsam, now an 11-year-old sixth-grader.

“I don’t want me, or any of my siblings, or anyone else I don’t even know from running around the park getting sick from the pesticides,” said 10-year-old Leo Balsam.

Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh says the Parks Department supports not using chemical pesticides but acknowledged it would limit managing invasive species.

“Estimate it would take three to five mechanical applications to replace one successful application of properly used and targeted herbicide,” he said.

Bill sponsors expressed confidence they have a veto-proof majority to get the bill passed this spring.

The Black Institute also wanted to see glyphosate banned at the state level.