Civics Lesson: High School Students Vote To Close Controversial “Poor Door”

Peter M. Simpson, a junior at the All City Leadership Secondary School, represented the 47th CD, which covers Coney Island, Bensonhurst and Gravesend.

Peter M. Simpson, a junior at the All City Leadership Secondary School, represented the 47th CD, which covers Coney Island, Bensonhurst and Gravesend.

Last month, 51 New York City high school students participated in the 13th Annual CUNY Model City Council Project’s debate in the City Council Chambers at City Hall in Manhattan.

They debated and voted on a mock legislative proposal concerning residential developments with separate entrances for low-income residents, or so-called “poor doors.” The measure passed 30-19, with two ‘Councilmembers’ absent.

The legislative resolution called on government agencies to do away with a loophole in the City’s Inclusionary Zoning Program that legally permits real estate developers to build separate entrances for wealthy residents and affordable housing tenants in City- subsidized developments.

Amanda Appoo, a senior at Hillcrest High School, seen here with City Councilmember Jumanne Williams whose 45th CD, which covers Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Canarsie and Midwood, she represented.

Amanda Appoo, a senior at Hillcrest High School, seen here with City Councilmember Jumanne Williams whose 45th CD, which covers Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Canarsie and Midwood, she represented.

In preparation for the debate, students from all five boroughs attended four weeks of Saturday classes where they learned about public policy making and civic engagement. They were assigned to the districts of sitting Council members; and studied the districts’ demographics so their arguments would reflect the opinions of constituents.

Victoria Meyerovich, a senior at Murray Hill Academy, was the 2014 Model Council Speaker.

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmembers Jumaane Williams, Inez Barron, Mathieu Eugene, Helen Rosenthal, and Mark Levine were present at the debate and also honored.

The annual event is sponsored by the CUNY-Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs and the CUNY College Now Program.

CUNY College Now High School Students and Councilmembers in the City Council's Chambers at City Hall.

CUNY College Now High School Students and Councilmembers in the City Council’s Chambers at City Hall.