Effort begins to name school after hero officer

Effort begins to name school after hero officer
P.S. 583, which just opened, could be named for the officer if it meets DOE criteria.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

A movement is underway to name a new school in Castle Hill after one of New York’s Finest who died in the line of duty.

Community Board 9 is spearheading an effort to name P.S. 583 after NYPD Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo, a police officer who died after being shot while making an apprehension in CB 9’s service area in November 2016.

Tuozzolo was the schools sergeant for the 43rd Precinct, said William Rivera, CB 9 district manager.

He was a 19-year veteran of the force that left behind a wife and two children.

“He was responsible for supervising the schools and working with the teachers and administrators, and he did a great job at it,” said Rivera.

The school, said Rivera, is located at 1028 White Plains Road and is right in the middle of CB 9’s and the 43rd Precinct’s service areas, making it an ideal location to honor the sergeant’s memory.

It is all the more fitting because his wife is an educator, he said.

CB 9 sent a letter to the DOE on the matter recently.

Congressman Jose Serrano, Congressman Joseph Crowley, Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Senator Jeff Klein, Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and Councilwoman Annabel Palma joined them in supporting the request, according to CB 9’s letter to DOE.

Sepulveda said that he supported the naming because while he is thankful that police officers rarely die in the line of duty, when it does happen and it is in his community he wants to pay tribute.

The assemblyman said that he spoke to parents about the naming, and about Tuozzolo’s work in community schools.

“I could not find a single person who objected to it,” said the assemblyman. “Police officers risk their lives every day for us, and I think it is a small token of appreciation that we can do something like this.”

The 43rd Precinct Community Council’s executive board is also behind the effort, said Aurora Carrion, the council’s president.

Carrion said that naming the school after Tuozzolo would be a fitting tribute because students, parents and principals knew him.

“I think he deserves this, I really do,” she said, adding that many children in schools where he worked were heartbroken that he had been killed.

A DOE spokesman stated that NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña must follow a specific protocol with school namings.

“We value the opportunity to honor New Yorkers who have given so much to our city and we will continue to work closely with principals and school communities throughout the naming process,” stated a DOE spokesman when asked about P.S. 583

P.S. 583 opened at the start of this school year, according to a DOE spokesman. It will serve grades pre-k through 5, said the spokesman.

“We cannot bring back a husband, a father, a supervisor at the precinct,” said Rivera. “The least we can do is this in memory of his name; (it’s) for his family, for the residents and his children.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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