New York City police shut down a Hasidic Jewish school in Brooklyn after neighbors called to report it was violating shutdown orders by conducting Yeshiva classes.
Officers found about 60 schoolchildren in the building when they arrived, and the school administrators were not issued summons after they complied with requests to send the students home, per a police spokeswoman.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a Monday tweet that his office would issue a cease-and-desist order to the school for not complying with shutdown orders. “I can’t stress how dangerous this is for our young people,” the mayor said. “We’re issuing a Cease and Desist Order and will make sure we keep our communities and our kids safe.”
In a later interview with NY1, de Blasio added that the police would closely moniter the school. “Where they happen, we’re going to stop them. If anyone tries to come back, they’re asking for a summons . . . it will be dealt with, there’s no question about that,” he stated.
Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) responded to de Blasio by suggesting the Department of Justice should investigate situation for a violation of “constitutionally guaranteed religious liberties.”
The mayor has drawn criticism in the past for singling out Jewish communities for not complying with stay-at-home orders, and apologized for “tough love” after tweeting in April that “the time for warnings has passed,” following the gathering of several thousand Orthodox Jews on the streets of Brooklyn to mourn the death of a prominent rabbi.
My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
Following the tweet, Cruz urged the DOJ in a letter “to closely monitor New York City” for instances of “constitutional violations” related to religious discrimination against the local Jewish community.