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CB 12 hopes to deter infighting on academy – QNS.com

CB 12 hopes to deter infighting on academy

Police stand outside Jamaica's Hillcrest High School, where Community Board 12 members said students were getting into fights. The board called on community businesses to provide youth initiatives.
By Nathan Duke

Community Board 12 members pleaded with southeast Queens residents last week to work together in opposing a proposed plan to combine two neighborhood schools on the same campus.

The board, which held its monthly meeting at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center in St. Albans March 17, also called on businesses in the community to create youth centers in the district to help cut down on crime in southeast Queens.

Adrienne Adams, chairwoman of the board’s Education Committee, called on community members not to bitterly fight one another on the plan to house the Eagle Academy in IS 59, at 132-55 Ridgedale St. in Springfield Gardens. The academy has taught inner-city children from grades six through 12 at two campuses in Brooklyn and the Bronx for 10 years.

“We are being made to fight with each other in public, which is not good,” Adams said of the plan’s opponents and supporters. “We can have anything we want as long as we stand up and say we deserve it.”

The city Department of Education has eyed locations at Jamaica and Campus Magnet high schools, but decided to place the academy at IS 59.

During a report to the board, Adams said the Education Committee believed putting the two schools together would cause disarray due to limited space at the site.

A town hall meeting on the matter was scheduled last weekend at IS 59.

Board members also mulled over ideas to keep community youths active after school in attempt to cut down crime in the district.

“We have a serious problem with black-on-black crime,” District Manager Yvonne Reddick said. “Last week, there was a home invasion and two shootings in the 103rd Precinct. There are serious problems at Hillcrest [High School]. I understand the girls are fighting, not the boys. There are not enough programs for our young people.”

She suggested that stores along Jamaica Avenue provide space for students. Two business owners told attendees at the meeting that they would like to mentor community youths to teach them about franchising.

“We are from this community,” said Kenneth Lewis, one of the owners. “We are often more mothers and fathers to many of the kids who work for us than their own mothers and fathers. It’s a shame.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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