Following the latest horrific incident involving a dean and student falling down an elevator shaft at Brooklyn’s troubled Lafayette High School, Assemblymember William Colton (D-Bensonhurst) has fired off a letter to Mayor Bloomberg, DOE Chancellor Joel Klein, and NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly urging them to include Lafayette into their Impact Schools list.
"There must be an immediate response to this ongoing dangerous situation at Lafayette," said the state lawmaker. "By designating Lafayette High School as an Impact School, additional police security will be added along with the creation of a task force comprised of DOE and NYPD officials to evaluate what changes need to be made to the school," he added.
However, the Assemblymember is careful to point out that this proposal alone will not alleviate all of the problems at Lafayette High School. "This is just an immediate first step to address years of inaction by the New York City Department of Education," said Colton. "As a result of years of inaction and covering up, the Department of Education and other public officials have incubated an environment at the school that is fertile for widespread violence and chaos," the legislator charged. The lawmaker believes that while under the Impact School scrutiny, other drastic measures must be on the table and thoroughly assessed in order to ensure student and staff safety.
The violence at Lafayette High School has been highlighted twice in the past two weeks. The first incident involved a riot at the school resulting in 12 students arrested and 5 police officers injured. And just two days ago, a student suffered a punctured lung and a dean injured his leg resulting from a fall down an elevator shaft. The fall was provoked by a cafeteria brawl during the morning school hours.
Some highlights of the Impact Schools policy include:
- The addition of school safety agents to the school.
- The doubling in number of permanent officers assigned to the school.
- Over 150 special city police officers have spread across other Impact Schools and would now be allocated to Lafayette.
- Modification of school suspension rules making it easier for the school to remove violent students and place them in alternative school settings.
- A task force comprised of NYPD and DOE officials to regularly meet and evaluate school attendance, safety, lateness, and suspension procedures. The task force will also evaluate student teacher, teacher-administrator, and student-administrator relationships.