By Joe Anuta
After one accident and more than four months of parent complaints, students who attend class at a Forest Hills school building got a crossing guard to help them navigate Metropolitan Avenue last week.
“While I may have been one of the more vocal ones, it was a concern for lots of people,” said Bill Kamen, a parent of a Metropolitan Expeditionary School student. “We are very thankful and grateful.”
The other two schools in the building, at 91-30 Metropolitan Ave., are Metropolitan High School and PS 233. In addition, a class of ninth-graders from Maspeth HS will also attend the school next year.
The guard started last week, and was allowed on the site since the school building houses a sixth grade. Normally, crossing guards are not provided for high schools.
But the new safety measure pleased lawmakers as well.
“Our new campus on Metropolitan Avenue is a wonderful addition to the community, yet we need to provide for the safety of students in the area,” said City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills).
Parents were grateful for the added safety, but some were still steamed about how long it took.
“I’m somewhat dismayed that it became so complicated,” Kamen said. “There should be no compromise in the safety of the children and bureaucracy is not acceptable.”
Kamen had heard that one child was hit by a bus while trying to cross the street unaided. This claim could not be confirmed.
It is the NYPD’s responsibility to hire guards, but police from the 112th Precinct said in November that they were unaware one was needed when the school year began.
Capt. Christopher Tamola said he would have liked to get a crossing guard, but none was available.
“[The department] doesn’t hire guards one at a time,” Tamalo said. “Like a police department, they have a class.”
The guards are recruited in groups so the required training, fingerprinting and background checks can be completed all at once.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by email at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.