2004-02-27 / Front Page

DOE Mum On Fate Of Beach 115 Street Suspension Program

By Howard Schwach
DOE Mum On Fate Of Beach 115 Street Suspension Program By Howard Schwach

Last Monday, when public schools went back into session at the end of the winter recess, was supposed to be a red-letter day for Rockaway’s High Schools.

Slated by the city’s Department of Education (DOE) to open on that day was a highly-touted New Beginnings School, a facility for 30 disruptive students culled from the two Rockaway schools.

The facility, at 115-07 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, was to be run by a consortium of community-based organizations, including the After-School Corporation and the local Action Center for Education and Community Development.

The new facility, however, never opened on Monday and, according to those close to the program, it may never open.

In a letter to The Wave that ran in last week’s edition, Aria Doe, one of the two parents who run the Action Center, wrote, "Following the [local school board] meeting, the Region shut down the New Beginnings Program they had asked the Action Center to run."

"I am sure," Doe added, "that there is not a parent on the peninsula who does not believe that if I as a parent had voted yes and supported the [Scholar’s Academy] plan, and had not gone with my conscience and voiced my deep reservations [about that plan], that the New Beginnings program would still be intact."

Earlier this week, Doe declined to comment further on the issue because she fears retribution from Region Five administrator Kathleen Cashin involving the other programs that The Action Center runs at MS 180.

Region Five officials referred calls from The Wave to the Department of Education’s press office.

Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the DOE, said that, to the best of his knowledge, the program was up and running.

When a Wave editor advised him that it was not, in fact, running and questioned him about Doe’s letter, he said that he "would check and get back to" the editor.

As of press time, there has been no further response from the Depart ment of Education to Doe’s charges.

In the meantime, a number of local merchants and residents had stated their opposition not to the New Beginnings program, but to placing a school for disruptive students nearby the major shopping area in the community.

"I was told by one of the teachers at the high school that the kids who are being put into this program are really bad actors," one local merchant, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Wave. "The last thing we need on Beach 116 Street is these kids hanging out and chasing our customers away."

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