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Taking it to the streets: Teachers keeping watch on students after the bell

Brooklyn Daily

A local junior high school is going the extra mile to keep its kids out of trouble.

Every day about 10 teachers and administrators walk dozens of students from Roy H. Mann Junior High School in Mill Basin to the bus stop at the corner of Avenue N and Ralph Avenue after dismissal, to make sure they behave while waiting for the bus.

Local businesses say the teachers’ presence has significantly reduced what had been a perennial problem around the school — unruly students causing a ruckus in nearby shops.

“Once they were fighting and broke the front window,” said Peter Eppolito, who owns the Brooklyn Zoo & Aquarium Pet Store.

In recent years, the school had gained a bad reputation, according to Michael Benjamin, who heads the nearby Bergen Beach Civic Association, but he said the junior high school has been working to repair that image.

The push to keep kids’ noses clean came after principal Anthony Cusamano took over the school in 2012. Cusumano instituted several reforms, including the after-school supervision, Benjamin said.

Parents are even pitching in to help repair relations with the community.

“We make sure that we’re doing right by the stores,” said Parent-Teacher Association president Christine Kroening.

Cusumano and other school officals declined to comment, citing Department of Education policy.

The educators overseeing the bus stop initially did the extra work for free, but now they receive a small stipend, according to teachers.

Though the program is seeing some success, area business owners said it has only diminished the problem, not eliminated it.

Mohammed Ali, who runs the Avenue N Gourmet Deli next to the bus stop, said the kids still get rowdy in the mornings when there are no administrators to watch over them.

Eppolito said he’s seen a reduction in hooliganism, but administrators don’t keep an eye on kids going into his store as closely because his business is around the corner from the bus stop.

“Once they make that turn onto Ralph Avenue, all bets are off,” he said.

But Eppolito, himself a Mann alumnus, said he doesn’t blame the school for the unruly kids.

“It’s bad parenting,” he said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.

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Reader Feedback

Melvin Band from Sheeepshead Bay says:
Looks like the inmates are running the prison. What else is new? Where are the cops? There used to be police squad cars from the school"escorting" these teens to Ralph Ave. while those kids who live in the neighborhood went home without a police escort because they weren't causing any problems. I guess political correctness won out. Right? Now as far as Cusamano and school officials refusing to comment, what ever happened to their First Amendment Rights? ACLU where are you. Somebody should video tape what goes on and then put it on U tube.
April 28, 8:57 pm
Melvin Band from Sheeepshead Bay says:
Are the teachers escorting the kids on their own or are they being pressured to do it?
April 28, 9:01 pm
linda calabrese from bergen beach says:
The school is a work in progress, but thanks to a bunch of "glass half full" comments, no one is willling to give it a chance. The school cant do it all, the police can't do it all....the community has to be part of this transformation. Thank you to the staff of Roy Mann, I personally see the change and have faith in you.
April 28, 9:17 pm
Linda Howe from Bergen Beach says:
I have lived across the street from this school for many years and while it has gotten better, there is still a long way to go. The fact that there was no summer school this past year was the only reason the residents around the school were not calling the 63rd every day. The principal has made a difference and now if only the parents of some of these kids would get involved we might see a lot more progress. It is true that most don't see how their kids act when they get off or on the bus but it is not the school's job to teach your children to be respectful of people and others property.
April 28, 9:40 pm
Lisa Donohoe from Bergen Beach says:
This school is great. Yes there a few bad kids, but bad kids are everywhere. In every school, even those specialized schools that all the neighborhood kids are running to. The staff does not have to walk the kids there. They choose to. They did it for free until recently. If you don't live here or go to the school, come and see what it's really like. You will be surprised that all the terrible stories you hear are just that... Stories. Yes dismissal was bad, but pass by any JHS. They are all kinda rowdy. Roy Mann is trying. Just give them a chance.
April 28, 10:29 pm
linda from bergen beach says:
If everyone hadn't sent their kids elsewhere Roy Mann would have been filled with local kids with parents who teach respect for our communities. All we ask for is some positive feedback, we know it isn't perfect yet, but what JHS is?
April 28, 10:40 pm

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