Westchester Square residents are extremely concerned with neighborhood safety after a recent stabbing incident at a nearby public school.
On the morning of Wednesday, January 5, three teenage males were engaged in an altercation outside of P12 Lewis and Clark on 2555 Tratman Avenue. Negro Rivera, 16, was allegedly stabbed in the neck with a pair of scissors by Allassane Keita, 15, and Tyrone Graves, 16, in front of the school. Rivera was sent to Jacobi Medical Center in critical condition.
Keita and Graves, students of Lehman High School on E. Tremont Avenue, were arrested on Thursday, January 6 by the 45th Precinct.
P12, which is under the jurisdiction of Special Education District 75, serves younger students, middle school students and high school students. The students who attend the school deal with a variety of challenges.
This is not the first time a serious incident has occurred at the school, but now it has officially become a cause for concern for local residents after the recent stabbing.
The community is worried about neighborhood safety and whether the students of these local schools are a legitimate threat to Zerega.
A meeting was held at Community Board 10 on Thursday, January 13 to come up with solutions. CB 10 members were joined by members of the Westchester Square Zerega Improvement Association, Westchester Square Merchants Association, a representative of Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and local residents.
John Bonizio, representing WSMA, believes two major issues were addressed that are important in moving forward. “We came up with the idea of contacting the Department of Education to see what we can do to ensure neighborhood safety around this school,” Bonizio said. “We also believe that increased police patrol of the 45th Precinct should be placed surrounding the schools until matters are resolved.”
The meeting was preliminary and was only meant to develop a community-wide response to the stabbing incident.
However, those who attended the meeting had hoped that the issues with the school will be taken up with local officials.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca was contacted after the meeting. According to Vacca, something must be done to fix the problems at the school that are concerning residents.
“There have been problems going on at that school for far too long now,” Vacca said. “I am very concerned for the safety of our community and I want to know what the Department of Education plans on doing to resolve this serious matter. We knew there were problems within the school, but now our residents are at serious risk.”
Vacca said an upcoming tentative date has been set with the DOE to discuss the important issues regarding P12. He hopes to have these matters listened to and taken care of as quickly as possible for the safety of the community.