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Springfield Gds. HS off troubled list – QNS.com

Springfield Gds. HS off troubled list

By Akiko Matsuda

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week that six schools, including Springfield Gardens High School in Springfield Gardens, demonstrated a significant decline in crime and disorderly conditions this academic year. Bloomberg said they would be removed from a list of “impact schools,” a status that brings extra officers to the school's hallways. Elizabeth McCullough, principal of Springfield Gardens High School, welcomed the news. “We're pleased that students and all the faculties got recognition for all the hard work,” McCullough said last Thursday about the school's crime reduction effort.The impact school initiative began in January 2004 with 10 high schools, including Franklin K. Lane on the Brooklyn/Queens border and Far Rockaway in Queens, and two middle schools in the Bronx to establish order and safety in schools with high crime rates.”Students cannot learn in a violent atmosphere,” Bloomberg said. “We launched the impact school initiative in order to put a stop to the culture of crime and disorder that was ruining the educational opportunities for our students, and the results have been promising.” In January 2005, after showing improvement five schools, including Franklin K. Lane and Far Rockaway, were removed from the list. That same month Springfield Gardens was added to the list along with John Bowne High School in Flushing and four other high schools. Bloomberg, Chancellor Joel Klein and the Police Department decided to add these six schools because they comprised 0.5 percent of the public school system yet accounted for 8.5 percent of the major crimes and 6.6 percent of the overall crimes in schools citywide. At Springfield Gardens, 3.1 of every 1,000 students are involved in major crimes handled by the Police Department and 10.5 out of every 1,000 are involved in other crimes, according to the 2002-2003 annual report card. In December, the three male students, ages 18 and 19, were arrested after allegedly stabbing a younger boy in a gym locker room, sending him to the hospital with multiple stab wounds in his back. Since the school was put on the impact school list, faculties and students at Springfield Gardens, which became a campus of three schools in September, started a major effort to improve the situation, McCullough said. Four officers were placed in the school's hallways and students quickly adjusted to the change.”Officers treated students with respect, so they got respect back from the students,” McCullough said. “(the improvement) wouldn't have happened without students working hard, too.”As a result, total crime fell 42 percent at Springfield Gardens during this academic year, according to the mayor's office. Total crime at all the impact schools dropped 39 percent with violent crime down 49 percent and major crime off 39 percent.The other schools to be removed from the list were Evander Childs, Adlai Stevenson and Theodore Roosevelt in the Bronx, and Erasmus Hall and Thomas Jefferson in Brooklyn. Eleven schools remain on the list. In addition to having made more students obey the law, the initiative's effort improved students' attendance at Springfield Gardens, according to McCullough.”There are clearly more students in the classrooms when we walk around,” McCullough said. “This is the result of the wonderful team effort.”

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