2008-08-22 / Letters

Who Is Committing School Crime?

Dear Editor,

Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly and Schools Chancellor Klein announce an 11 percent drop in major felony in city schools.

Of course, the real question ought to be, what crimes and violations are being committed in and around the public schools, and who is committing them.

I would suggest that the following scenario applies to most public schools in New York City: We approach the school and observe either "No Parking Anytime" or "No Standing Anytime" signs, or fire hydrants. There are private passenger cars parked in these area with placards indicating that they are owned by Police department employees. Or we find police vehicles (School Safety) parked in these areas. Inquiry reveals that there is no emergency in progress that they have responded to.

Next, we approach the main building entrance. We find that a substantial portion of it is blocked by a desk or other apparatus belonging or assigned to the school "Safety" officers.

We enter the school and observe metal doorways across the hallways dividing corridors into lengths of no more than 300 feet. Some or all of these doors are held open with wood chocks. (Note that these doors may be held open by latches that are released by the fire alarm system and local {within 15'} smoke detectors.)

Finally, we reach the stairways. Again, we find that the smoke stop doors are propped open. Here, not even electric release mechanisms are allowed.

We complain to the custodian engineer, pointing out that he is responsible for fire code compliance in the building. She/he tells us that either the principal or the school safety officers directed him to do it. We complain to the principal. We are threatened and harassed and school safety escorts us out of the building.

Calls to 311, 911, and the local police precinct have no effect. A personal visit with the Fire Department Battalion Chief may result in some temporary improvement.

So what have we learned; crime and "violations" constitute a serious problem in our schools. The overwhelming

majority of unlawful activity in and around our schools is

committed by those charged with preventing violations of the law. Students are taught, on a daily basis, to disrespect the law. Instead they are taught that might makes right.

EUGENE FALIK

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