Lehman HS silent on slashing; no notice to parents; security tightened

Lehman HS silent on slashing; no notice to parents; security tightened
Students enter Lehman High School in Westchester Square, where a student was slashed with a straight razor in March despite metal detectors and security gaurds.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

Mum’s the word at Lehman High School.

Weeks after a student at Lehman High School was slashed by another student with a straight razor, the school is remaining silent about the security situation.

Principal Rose LoBianco directed all questions to the Department of Education, which did not respond to an inquiry.

The administration has also been quiet about the March 17 incident within the school community as well.

Lehman student Joshua Capo said neither teachers nor administration told him or other students about the incident, learning about it only through news reports.

Parent Association Elvin Flores said that while the school did not send out any notice to parents after the incident, the school has been addressing parents concerns individually and at a PA meeting.

“Parents are understanding that it’s an isolated incident,” said Flores.

Flores said that since the incident the school has tightened security. He said he sees more officers outside the building and he’s noticed that they are being more diligent with screening for metal.

“They really check if you have anything at all on you,” Capo said.

Jonathan Goldman, a student at the co-located Renaissance High School for Musical Theater and Technology, said he hadn’t heard of the incident at all, but he has noticed that school security has recently begun having students remove their boots for inspection .

Other students said they haven’t noticed any changes.

“It’s pretty much the same thing,” said Renaissance student Diandra Perez.

Flores said it was still unclear how a student managed to bring the straight razor into the school past metal detectors, and that the NYPD is handling the investigation.

“There are some theories,” said a police source. “It’s possible they may have secreted it outside near an exit door and retrieved it from there.”

The source said that all the metal detectors were tested after the incident and were found to be working properly.

They described the number of reported incidents at the large high school campus as “tiny since the start of the year.”

Flores said the incident was out of the ordinary for Lehman and could have happened anywhere. He’s frustrated that the incident is hurting the reputation of the school, where he feels his son has gotten a great education.

“We can’t put down a staff and students who work hard because one kid was irresponsible,” he said.

Flores said he believes the school has handled the situation correctly.

The student with the razor was charged with assault and was permanently suspended from the school.

Stephauan Powell, who was slashed under the chin, requiring 20 stitches, was charged with disorderly conduct and transferred from the school, as is a standard Board of Education safety procedure.

Powell and his mother Latoya Santiago, are suing the Department of Education and the NYPD for $5.5 million in damages and to have the disorderly conduct charge dropped.

Their lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, said the case is based on negligence in security procedures and negligence in the supervision of students.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at (718) 742–3383. E-mail her at [email protected]

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