New York Nooks

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Fix Our Xerox!

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Teachers Protest Budget Cuts

JOHN YANNO rushed out of a pharmacy in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, across the street from the John Jay High School building where he teaches sixth-grade social studies. A solid mass of untrustworthy gray clouds stood still above his head.

Shortly before school let out for the day at 3 p.m., most people on the street were dressed in winter coats; but Yanno wore a short-sleeved flannel shirt, his cropped, salt-and-pepper goatee his only protection from the cold.

He had gone to the pharmacy looking for poster board; not finding any, he returned to the school, sailed past security with a quick hello, and whizzed towards the art teacher’s classroom. There, he scored a few pieces.

Heading up the stairs with the oak tag under his arm, he stepped over a pair of gum-snapping girls and made his way through discarded plastic bags and candy wrappers, on his way to his studentless classroom—cramped, boxy and about ten degrees warmer than the hall, thanks to a radiator with a busted thermostat. Lockers lined one side and windows with drawn shades the other; tightly packed desks covered nearly every inch of floor space and posters covered nearly every inch of wall space.

Yanno laid out a small square of poster board on a student’s desk.

MONEY FOR, he wrote in black, SCHOOLS, in green, NOT, in black, WAR!, in red.

“This is all I do,” Yanno said. “I spend half my life making signs.”

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Written by Henry

May 5, 2008 at 5:51 pm