Unruly students causing problems in Ozone Park when schools let out was a concern addressed at last Thursday’s meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council.
A meeting attendee sought police help to control the students as they exited John Adams High School on Rockaway Boulevard and 101st Street and J.H.S. 226 on Rockaway Boulevard and 121st Street. Fights break out between young people, who may be students at the schools, in the surrounding neighborhoods, he said. He added that other youngsters, who may also be students, throw garbage in the vicinity of Lincoln Street and Rockaway Boulevard.
Capt. Joseph Courtesis, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, told the residents at the meeting that the police department has a safe corridor plan for students. This plan provides them with a path along which police officers are stationed. Courtesis said that at a recent meeting with J.H.S. 226’s principal, Sonia Nieves, and other principals, he discussed the concerns some had about their students.
Courtesis also said that he suggested to John Adams High School Principal Grace Zwillenberg at the meeting that she institute staggered dismissal times since the school currently dismisses 5,000 students at one time. Four police officers are assigned to John Adams and J.H.S. 226 at dismissal time each day.
The captain noted that this year the precinct has an additional 10 police officers assigned to the safe corridor plan.
Courtesis told the audience that the problem with unruly students is one of the precinct’s number one concerns. However, he noted that the additional police officers have defused many issues and have helped lower crime rates.
Margaret Finnerty, president of the Richmond Hill South Civic Association, expressed concern about the Community Council’s September meeting at which a shouting match broke out. A Woodhaven resident had been yelling in frustration regarding several 18-wheeler trucks that he believed threatened the safety of children around Loring Field, located between Cross Bay Boulevard, North Conduit Avenue and 149th Avenue. Council President Frank Dardani reprimanded him for his failure to follow proper decorum.
“If somebody acts like that at any meeting in the community they should be escorted out,” said Finnerty, calling for a sergeant-at-arms to maintain order at future meetings.
Courtesis told council members that he and other police officers present evaluated the situation and decided it was best to let the complainant continue to speak until he had finished. Courtesis said this turned out to be the correct approach since by the end of the meeting the complainer had calmed down.