Students & parents of endangered Middle Village charter school rally as lawsuit arguments start

MVP rally at court
Photos by Anthony Giudice/QNS

Students and parents from the charter school in Middle Village that is under threat of closure rallied outside the Queens County Court in Jamaica on Tuesday morning.

The rally, part of a last-ditch effort to get the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens to drop the lawsuit against Christ the King High School (CTK) and its board of trustees, was held just before oral arguments in the case were set to begin.

After hearing from both sides in the case, the judge is now deliberating and a decision is expected soon. According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the judge hoped that the two sides could work out this out themselves.

“The Diocese of Brooklyn wants MVP to remain open and the students to thrive,” Diocese of Brooklyn spokesperson Carolyn Erstad told QNS in an email. “The judge today encouraged CTK and the diocese to work this out. We want to do that and are extending an invitation to the CTK board members to sit down and talk.”

The MVP community showed up in force outside the Civil Court building on Sutphin Boulevard on the morning of June 13, holding up signs and chanting “MVP,” “Keep our school open” and “Drop the lawsuit.” They marched in front of the court house, demanding that their beloved school remain open this September.

Daniella DiSanti, a seventh-grader at MVP, said she was rallying because the charter school really helped her grow academically and as a person, and wants to be able to graduate from MVP next year.

“It’s actually really sad to think about it, that I might not even graduate from the greatest school I’ve ever been to,” she said. “This school has actually really helped me a lot. Before this, I came to the school I was really shy and my academic scores weren’t that high, and now I’m the vice president of the NJHS (National Junior Honors Society). “I want to let [the diocese] know how determined we are to keep the school open and we are trying our best to keep it open, and they are stopping our great education.”

Daniella DiSanti with her handmade sign.
Daniella DiSanti with her handmade sign.

A sixth-grader from MVP, Ramandeep Girn, said he learned to love school because of the teachers and the education he was receiving from the charter school, and did not want to be forced to change schools if MVP was shuttered at the start of the next school year.

“My first day was such an amazing day. I love that I met so many new friends, all the teachers there were so nice, and as I went forward I actually progressed; my grades went all the way up,” he said. “And somehow they make education so easy, they make it so fun. And ever since that day I love to go to school, because usually I was not a school fan, but now I do. I love school.”

Ramandeep Girn and his mother Kuldip.
Ramandeep Girn and his mother Kuldip.

In the lawsuit that threatens MVP, the diocese charges that CTK was not allowed to open and operate the secular charter school on the Catholic high school’s campus in 2013 due to an agreement made between the two parties in 1976.

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