Many city schools are set to kick off summer school classes Thursday — but students at dozens of them will soon be walking to class without speed cameras to catch reckless drivers.
There are 82 schools that hold summer sessions and have speed cameras to ticket motorists for speeding in a school zone — which the city will be required to switch off on July 25 unless legislation is passed in Albany to keep them on, officials said.
“The data is clear, speed cameras save lives. With our kids beginning summer school this week, the state Senate cannot in good conscience continue their vacation,” said Mayor de Blasio’s spokesman Raul Contreras.
“They need to get back to work and renew and expand speed cameras near schools. Our children’s lives depend on it.”
The city had hoped to get permission to double the number of speed cameras, which are placed near schools and automatically issue $50 tickets.
Instead, the state Assembly passed legislation to allow the city to keep using the 140 current cameras and add more, but the Senate ended its sessions without voting on it.
Among the schools with summer classes set to lose their cameras are Junior High School 227, Intermediate School 281 and Public School 52 in Brooklyn; Public School 22 on Staten Island; the Razi School in Queens and St. Raymond Elementary School in the Bronx.
Injuries to pedestrians and drivers have declined by an average of 14.8% around schools that have the cameras.
Maureen Landers, 47, a mom of two from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, who has pushed for speed cameras, said the combination of less enforcement and less traffic on the streets in summer will put kids at risk.
Her 15-year-old son was hit by a car on the way home from school earlier this year and broke his leg — an injury she said would have been far worse if the driver was speeding.
“I think that summer is a particularly dangerous time,” she said. “There’s virtually no enforcement. The only thing to force people to drive close to the speed limit is congestion and the speed cameras. Now, if you look at the summer, you have less congestion and now we’re looking at a summer without speed cameras.”
A New York school district is investigating noose images labeled as ‘back to school necklaces’ in classroom
A Long Island, New York, school district is investigating reports that a picture of nooses labeled “back to school necklaces” was displayed in a middle school classroom.
Arthur Mackey Jr., a pastor at Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt, said he received the image — which is part of a larger collage reportedly displayed in a classroom — from a teacher in the school system. He posted it on Facebook and called on the school district to take action.
“When I heard about it I said that this is outrageous,” Mackey told CNN. “The majority of students are minority students, African-American and Hispanic. For the image to be on the wall … is totally unacceptable.”
In a statement, the Roosevelt School District said it is aware of the “inappropriate conduct” and investigating. The school district said it is unable to comment further, calling the incident a “personnel matter.”
“The Board of Education has zero tolerance for the display of racially offensive images,” the district’s statement said.
CNN has not confirmed who sent the photo to Mackey, who created and put up the poster nor how long it had been on display.
“It’s probably just a joke, it probably has nothing to do with African-Americans…. but at the same time, they could still draw that connection,” community member Savitri Lekhram told CNN affiliate News12 Long Island.
But Mackey says it is a “hate crime and racial discrimination,” for which those responsible should be punished.
More than half of the middle school’s population is Hispanic or Latino; about 45 percent is black or African American, according to the New York State Education Department.
Many people in the community are employed by schools in the district, Mackey said.
The district “cannot condone racism,” he said. “We have a great school superintendent, school board president and school board and we all believe in our hearts they are going to do the right thing.”
Mackey said as soon as he began spreading the word, he received an overwhelming response from fellow community members who wanted action taken against whomever put up the poster.
“I’m just glad my kids are out of there right now,” Yvette Hudson, from Roosevelt, told News12. “I was very upset about it.”
Police arrest man in bus stop incidents where students were approached
Officers from the Saginaw Police Department arrested a man they believe approached students at least four times while they were on bus stops awaiting transport to school.
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, Detective Sgt. Oscar Lopez announced that police arrested a 43-year-old man and charged him with accosting a child for immoral purposes.
The man’s name is being withheld pending arraignment.
The first incident occurred around 7:10 a.m. on Jan. 11 on Madison near North Bond, when a female student and her brother were walking separately from one another when an unknown man approached and tried to grab her. She ran to her brother and the subject fled.
On Jan. 15, shortly before 7 a.m. on North Bond near Reed, police say a female student was walking when an unknown male exited from a light-colored four-door vehicle and began to chase her. The student managed to get on the bus, according to Lopez.
Moments later on South Elm near Division, four female students were waiting for the bus when they observed a male standing across the street behind a tree. The girls deemed this to be suspicious and went back to one of their homes and notified a parent, according to Lopez.
The fourth incident occurred on Jan. 25 around 8 a.m. on Mackinaw near South Mason. Two female students were waiting at a bus stop when they observed a male make a lewd gesture as he drove past in a light-colored vehicle. The females walked away and he followed them. The subject drove past them again this time exposing his genitals, according to Gomez.
“Detective Phillip Graves worked tirelessly on this case following up on any and every lead,” said Lopez said. “Assistance from the public and good old fashion police work played a large role in tracking down this individual.”
Anyone with information on any of these incidents are urged to call Detective Graves at 989-759-1761.
Waterville man invents tool to help keep kids safe in the classroom
A man in Waterville has come up with a tool he says will keep kids safer in the classroom.
Ryan Bowman never thought he’d become an inventor, but he says he became one after seeing more and more school shootings.
“It really makes you as a parent nervous and you’re like. ‘I can’t be there with my kid at the school if something like this happens,’ because they’re unpredictable,” Bowman said.
He and his wife came up with the safety wedge.
He says he came up with it after seeing a woman post online about giving her nieces door stoppers to bring to school.
Knowing that wouldn’t keep an active shooter out, they designed the rubber wedges with a special design.
“It will actually fold up under itself preventing the door from being able to continuing to go and someone from barging in,” Bowman said.
Even while pulling on it, after it folded, the wedge wouldn’t budge.
Giving whoever put it there time to run, hide, or worst case scenario, fight.
The safety wedge is being manufactured in Maine. They’re now hoping through pre-orders they’ll be able to build a new mold to be able to make more than just one wedge at a time.
“Our mold we have right now is a one-cavity mold, so it can only make one at a time, we’re looking to get up to a four-cavity mold so four can be made at a time.
At $25 apiece, Bowman hopes it’s an inexpensive way to give parents peace of mind.
“My son does have one that he takes with him to school right now and just knowing that it’s there makes a big difference,” Bowman said.
A big difference he hopes nobody has to use.
If you’re interested in a safety wedge, click here.
They say they are taking pre-orders now and will be sending them out in April.
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