2007-11-09 / Front Page

Cops Investigating PS 225 'Hate Crime'

By Howard Schwach

Staff members and parents arriving at PS 225 in Rockaway Beach on Monday morning were greeted with a racial screed that is being investigated by the NYPD's Hate Crimes Unit, sources say.

The flyer left in and around PS 225 on Beach 110 Street in Rockaway Beach on Monday. The flyer left in and around PS 225 on Beach 110 Street in Rockaway Beach on Monday. Those arriving early on November 5 found hundreds of small flyers scattered around the building's perimeter and in the building, as well.

The flyer was entitled "Black Racism," and it went on to charge that the minority students in the building are mistreating the white children who attend the pre-K to grade-seven school. Department of Education statistics indicate that less than eighteen percent of the students are white, while 42.5 percent are black and 36.5 percent are Hispanic.

"In all public schools where blacks are the majority and whites are the minority, white kids endure racial slurs and beatings by groups of black kids," the anonymous flyer said. "This is not reverse racism this is racism. If the situation was reversed and a white kid called a black kid the N-Word he would be suspended."

School workers clean up the remaining flyers that were left on the ground around the school, as school security agents look on. School workers clean up the remaining flyers that were left on the ground around the school, as school security agents look on. The author of the document said that he was a student at PS 225 more than 20 years ago and even then, he was subjected to beatings and harassment at the hands of his black fellow students.

"Every day, I endured mental and physical abuse," the writer says. "On a daily basis, I was called white devil, honkey, cracker, etc. On a consistent basis, I was jumped by groups of black kids and beat [only] because of the fact that I was white."

He argues that it was wrong then and it is wrong now.

"There is a clear double standard when it comes to race," the writer charges. "If you are black, when it comes to freedom of speech and the media, you can say almost anything without consequences."

The flyer urges white kids and adults to unite and demand change "by any means necessary."

A black parent who came to The Wave office with the flyer thought that it was racist.

"This person is just trying to work things up between the kids at the school," the parent, who asked not to be identified because her children go to the school, said. "There are fights in the school; there are fights in all schools because kids will be kids, but there is no racism involved."

A white parent who called The Wave after seeing the flyer, however, disagreed.

The father, who also asked to remain anonymous, said that there are lots of problems at the school, which just received a grade of D from the Department of Education.

"What they do to my kid breaks my heart," he said. "I can't afford to send him to private school, but I would in a minute if I could. We are stuck with many black kids who are violent. When something happens between the races, the white kids pay the price and the blacks do not."

The parent put part of the blame on the Department of Education, which buses students past their zoned schools at PS 42 and PS 183 from Ocean Village, in order to integrate the Beach 110 Street school.

"The deal to bus the kids to PS 225 was made years ago, when Rockaway Beach was mostly white. It isn't anymore, and the busing should stop. If they made [PS] 225 a neighborhood school again, we wouldn't be having these problems."

On October 19, Michael Hennessey, a parent at PS 225, was arrested at the school for running into the school yard when, he says, he saw his son being attacked by a large group of black students.

At the time, Hennessey told The Wave that he was at the school to get a safety transfer for his son, who, he says, could no longer take being called "Casper" and "whitey," to a school where he would no longer be bullied by other boys.

Dina Paul Parks, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, says that the October 19 incident is the only incident she knows about that would spark the flyer's writer to come forward.

She says that incidents between students are always "addressed in an appropriate manner," and that "appropriate punishment" is meted out.

"It's unfair to say that the school's administration has not been responsive," she said. "The principal is hardworking, and he is committed to insuring that every student feels comfortable in the building."

Police sources say that the incident is under investigation by both the Hate Crimes Unit and the 100 Precinct Detective Squad, but declined to speculate on why the writer of the flyer came forward at this time.

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