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.
©2014 Community News Group
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