Keep Our Students Safe
Even a cursory walk around the Scholars’ Academy provides a look at how unsafe the area is for the students who attend the school. The area is replete with puddles whenever it rains, forcing students to walk on busy Beach Channel Drive. Those seventh and eighth grade students who must travel large distances and who no longer have bus privileges, thanks to a new DOE ruling, must cross the busy Rockaway Freeway, judging their crossing time as automobiles pass by at high speed. There are trees growing in the middle of the sidewalk on Beach 104 Street, forcing students into the street as school buses try to maneuver around them. On Beach 105 Street and the Freeway, a local supermarket has built a six-inch high barrier that easily causes students to be tripped up as they walk around it. As Principal Brian O’Connell recently said, “Patience with the city agencies responsible for keeping the students safe has not shown any results. The slow and unresponsive nature of their response is going to cause loss of life sooner or later.” There are some solutions that can be implemented immediately and the first is to close the Rockaway Freeway between Beach 85 Street and Beach 108 Street. The Freeway is already closed in several sections further east to accommodate Arverne By The Sea. The entire road is scheduled to be closed, eventually. Why not add the section where both Beach Channel High School and Scholars’ Academy students must cross the dangerous road twice each day? The DOT and the DEP should be made to keep their promises and do the work necessary to keep students safe. They can’t procrastinate any longer. The time for action is now.