Thomas Jefferson High School (Brooklyn)

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Thomas Jefferson High School
Jefferson HS 400 Pennsylvania Av jeh.jpg
400 Pennsylvania Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11207
United States
Coordinates 40°40′01″N 73°53′41″W / 40.666919°N 73.894841°W / 40.666919; -73.894841Coordinates: 40°40′01″N 73°53′41″W / 40.666919°N 73.894841°W / 40.666919; -73.894841
Funding type Public
Established 1922
Closed 2007
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,600 (1991)[1]
Yearbook Aurora

Thomas Jefferson High School was a high school in the East New York section of Brooklyn, New York. It was the alma mater of many people who grew up in the Great Depression and World War II and rose to prominence in the arts, literature, and other fields.[1] In 2007, the New York City Department of Education closed the school and broke it into several small schools because of low graduation rates.[2]


Thomas Jefferson High School, located at 400 Pennsylvania Avenue, had its groundbreaking in 1922 with New York City mayor John Francis Hylan officiating. Thomas Jefferson was the number one public high schools in New York to receive a M. P. Moller pipe organ in the 1920s.[3]

In 1991, Darryl Sharpe, a ninth-grade student who was an innocent bystander, was shot to death in the school. Another youth was trying to help his brother in a fistfight, drew a gun, and opened fire in the crowded hallway. The three shots killed the 16-year-old student and critically wounded a teacher, Robert Anderson, who was approaching to intervene. At the time, education officials in New York called it "one of the school system's worst crimes" and noted that besides an accidental shooting in 1989, it was the first killing of a student in a school in more than a decade.[1]

In 1992, a 15-year-old student at the school shot two other students, who died thereafter, in the hallway an hour before then-mayor David Dinkins was supposed to tour the school.[4]

In 2007, the New York City Department of Education closed the school and broke it into several small schools because of low graduation rates.[2]

In the photograph above the main entrance of TJHS is clearly engraved a quote from Abraham Lincoln, "May reverence for the laws become the political religion of the nation." For 90 years students, and perhaps faculty, have wondered why the authorities were unable to find an appropriate quotation from Thomas Jefferson himself to grace the entrance to his namesake school.


Since 2007, the school building is known as the Jefferson Campus, and is the home of:[2]

In 2015, two of the new schools were graduating about 70 percent of their students and the other two have graduation rates in the 50s.[4] In New York City overall in 2015, just over 78 percent of New York State students who entered high school in 2011 graduated on time according to state officials. However, the percentage is 88 percent for white students and only 65 percent for black and Hispanic students during the same time period.[5]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McFadden, Robert D. (November 26, 1991). "16-Year-Old Is Shot to Death In a High School in Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "H.S. 435 Thomas Jefferson High School". November 30, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  3. ^ "Thomas Jefferson High School". New York City American Guild of Organists. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Kolodner, Meredith (September 29, 2015). "Once sold as the solution, small high schools are now on the back burner". The Hechinger Report. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  5. ^ Harris, Elizabeth A. (January 11, 2016). "New York City's High School Graduation Rate Tops 70%". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Thomas Jefferson (Brooklyn, NY) Baseball". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  7. ^ "Zaslofsky, Max: Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum". December 7, 1925. Retrieved February 13, 2011.

External links[edit]