At last Tuesday’s Community Education Council (CEC) District 24 meeting at PS/IS 128 in Middle Village, officials discussed street safety around area schools. According to CEC 24 co-chair Dmytro Fedkowskyj, the council set out a questionnaire to all 40 school principals, and 25 responded.
The principals answered how they felt about the need for more crossing guards, street signage and paintings and speed bumps. According to Fedkowskyj, more than half of the schools that responded were not satisfied with the current conditions around their buildings.
The survey data was sent to the Department of Transportation, NYPD, local elected officials and community boards.
“The information will help us safeguard school communities throughout the district,” Fedkowskyj said. “As they say it takes a village, and together, we can improve safety measures for our communities.”
Jason Banrey, Deputy Queens Borough Commissioner for DOT, described the year-long process of intaking a request, analyzing it to determine if it’s feasible, garnering community support and adding it to the queue of projects.
He pledged to report back to the CEC and each principal about their street safety requests, with the objective of getting it done by Thanksgiving.
“I will go out there and check every single school,” he said. “That’s something I’m dedicated to do.”
Education officials also grilled two traffic officers from the 104th Precinct about the need for crossing guards in the school district.
According to Fedkowskyj, only eight out of 25 schools that responded to the survey are satisfied with their crossing guard situation, so 68 percent of respondents are not satisfied.
He noted that two of the district’s 40 schools don’t even have any crossing guards, which he called “a shame.”
“It creates a dangerous situation when kids exit the school,” he said. “We need to figure out a plan on how to address this.”
Officer Michelle Manistalco said the precinct was given 52 crossing guards to allocate throughout the precinct’s coverage area, which doesn’t overlap with CEC 24’s boundaries. The education council covers schools ranging from Sunnyside and Corona to Maspeth and Middle Village.
Manistalco, who used to be a crossing guard for nine years, said the priority is younger children, and it’s less likely to have crossing guards at middle schools.
Fedkowskyj disagreed and said middle school students also need crossing guards because many walk with phones in their faces.
“In a perfect world, I’d have crossing guards everywhere,” Manistalco said. “But our priority are the little ones. That’s where we’re putting the crossing guards first.”