Lafayette High School (New York City)

Lafayette High School (New York City)

Infobox Secondary school
name = Lafayette High School
native_name =
logo =
motto =
established = 1939
city = New York City
state = New York
province =
country = United States
campus =
type = Public
affiliation =
affiliations =
president =
principal = Jacqueline Boswell
headmaster =
rector =
dean =
founder =
chaplain =
chairman =
head_label =
head =
faculty =
students =
enrollment = Approx. 369
enrolment =
grades =
address = 2630 Benson Avenue Brooklyn 11214
district =
oversight =
accreditation =
mascot =
colors = Maroon and white
colours =
newspaper =
yearbook =Legend
free_label_1 =
free_1 =
free_label_2 =
free_2 =
free_label_3 =
free_3 =
website =
footnotes =
picture =

Lafayette High School is a large secondary school located in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York City, New York . It is currently one of the low performing high schools of the city and is operated by the New York City Department of Education.


Lafayette High School is situated in what was formerly the town of Gravesend. All the towns in Kings County were settled by the Dutch with the exception of Gravesend, which was first settled by a colony of English people under the leadership of Lady Deborah Moody, a woman of considerable wealth and education, who took a prominent part in public affairs, and whose home was on Neck Road. According to the New York City Ward Map of Kings County in 1899, the school is located on the former property of John Carter. This map reveals a frame house with stables on the site of the building. The land was originally swampy, sandy soil covering about ten acres.

Lafayette High School, the first building of its type, was designed to accommodate about 4,000 pupils. The cost of the site was $211,350 while the building itself necessitated an outlay of $2,820,000. There are two other high schools in the city, which are duplicates of this type – Christopher Columbus and William Cullen Bryant. Dr. Frederick William Oswald was asked to assume the principalship of the new school. As the new building was not ready, the school had to meet in three annexes. These annexes were P.S. 180, with Mr. Joseph Grady in charge, assisted by Mr. Freilich and Mr. Abraham Margolies; P.S. 126, under the direction of Miss Dorothy K. Lewis and Mr. Robert Buda; and P.S. 192 with Mr. Walter Jacobsen in charge. On March 1939, the faculty had been increased to 156 members and the student population numbered some 4,500 boys and girls. On November 13, 1939, the formal exercises dedicating Lafayette High School took place in the auditorium. Among those present was Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia.

School activities early became an important part of life at Lafayette. On November 21, 1940, the first G.O. elections showed the following candidates victorious in the contest for school officers: Theodore Blinder, president; Gladys Deatsch, vice-president; Lillian Antin, secretary; Sabina La Salle, treasurer. Through the years principals, whether Mary Buda, Joseph Bellafiore, Leo Weitz, Irving I. Cohen, or Sheldon R. Friedberg 1986, recognized the importance of student activities and the Student Organization.

Recent Years

As measured by graduation rates, Lafayette's performance is low; 44.4 percent of the class of 2006 graduated on time [] and a 63.2 percent 7-year graduation rate. []

Minorities and the Consent Decree

According to the New York City Department of Education, Lafayette's students speak at least 30 different languages. With the explosion of the Asian population, the school has been accused of harassment and unequal treatment based on race and ethnicity.Fact|date=August 2007 After much complaints, Lafayette was the subject of a June 2004 consent decree between the New York City Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice which found evidence of "severe and pervasive peer-on-peer harassment of Asian students."Fact|date=August 2007

Under the consent decree, Lafayette students needing help in English would be assigned appropriate classes within 10 days of enrolling. (e.g., Mandarin-speaking students would not be placed in bilingual classes taught in Cantonese). Lafayette also pledged to develop a policy clarifying school officials' obligations to report cases of harassment based on race, color, and national origin, and to heighten diversity awareness among staff and students.

The Justice Department will continue to monitor Lafayette's progress over the next three years.Fact|date=August 2007


In recent years Lafayette has experienced criminal activity involving their students. Extra police officers and security guards were added when the New York City Department of Education labeled it an "Impact School". After some improvement, in April 2006, Lafayette has been removed from the Impact list.

In an effort to turn around the crime, performance, and harassment problems, Jolanta Rohloff, a graduate of the New York City Leadership Academy, was named principal for the 2005-2006 school year. She has proved controversial; angering teachers, discontinuing all after-school sports, overruling grades that some teachers gave students (She attempted to fail students who failed the Regents exam despite teacher's protests)

Planned Closing

In December 2006, it was announced that New York City plans to close Lafayette High School, along with four other low-performing schools that failed to improve under city guidance. Applying a strategy of the Bloomberg administration, the large closed schools will each be replaced by several small schools with about 400 or 500 students each. []

New Principal

Controversial Lafayette Principal Jolanta Rohloff stepped down (March 30, 2007) to be replaced by Doris Unger, who will oversee the closing of the school, having previously overseen the closing of Seward Park High School. Principal Rohloff, praised by Board of Education officials for her work attempting to turn around the school, but criticized by the community, teachers, and students for heavy-handiness, will be assigned by the Board of Education to mentor principals and teachers on how to interpret student performance data and make necessary adjustments to instruction. []

On September 15, 2008, a press release stated that Ms. Doris Unger had been promoted to Superintendent. On September 19, 2008, it was announced to the staff at Lafayette HS that the Assistant Principal, Jacqueline Boswell will be the new Principal, IA.


Lafayette is the New York HS with the most alumni (21) becoming baseball players. []

The school is shown during the chase scene of the Academy Award winning movie "The French Connection".

Famous Alumni

*Charles Addessi (Film Director/Producer)
*Bob Aspromonte (Baseball)
*Ken Aspromonte (Baseball)
*Tony Balsamo (Baseball)
*Sal Campisi (Baseball)
*Roz Chast (Cartoonist)
*Michael Jesse Chonoles (Author, Methodologist)
*Herb Cohen (Author, Negotiator)
*Alex Coletti (Producer)
*Vic Damone (Singer)
*Benny Distefano (Baseball)
*Jerry Della Femina (Author, Restaurateur, Advertising Agent)
*Pete Falcone (Baseball)
*Al Ferrara (Baseball)
*Mike Fiore (Baseball)
*John Franco (Baseball)
*Gary David Goldberg (Producer/Sitcom creator)
*Leon M. Goldstein (Educator)
*Larry King (Interviewer)
*Sandy Koufax (Baseball)
*Michael Lerner (actor)
*Jesse Liberty (Computer Author / Gay Rights Activist)
*Peter Max (Artist)
*Art Metrano (Comic Actor)
*Larry Merchant (Sportswriter)
*Vickie Natale (ISinger/Songwriter/CBS Star Search Champion)
*Eric Ober (President CBS News 1980's)
*Louis Olivo Jr (Baseball)
*Rhea Perlman (Actress)
*Steve Schirripa (Actor/Author)
*Maurice Sendak (Artist)
*Paul Sorvino (Actor)
*Jeff Sperber (Librarian)
*John Sprizo (Judge)
*Seymour Steinbegle(Sire Records President)
*Michael Steinhardt (Financier)
*Ralph Testa (Decorated Vietnam Veteran)
*Fred Wilpon (New York Mets Owner)

External links

* [ Lafayette High School's official Wepage]
* [ Feud Over Lafayette High School]
* [ Thugs rule school at Lafayette High]

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