Christopher Columbus High School has become the first high school in the Bronx to offer a Police Athletic League after-school program. The new program was christened with the help of 49th Precinct Youth Officer Chris Traumer.
P.A.L. programs – which offer recreational activities such as basketball and other sports in conjunction with a comprehensive curriculum are usually found in middle schools.
Traumer, along with Christopher Columbus principal Lisa Fuentes, felt that the school would be a good place to fight crime because of some negative influences near the school.
“I am recruiting for the P.A.L. program at the school,” Traumer said. “It was an ongoing process of getting the school into the P.A.L.”
“It is different working with older kids because they are a little more stand-offish,” Traumer said. “They may have had some bad experiences with police. You have to get to know them more slowly.”
The P.A.L. program at Columbus will operate between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. –when the school is still open, but other extra-curricular activities have ended.
So far, those students participating in the program like it, for the most part.
“It has been going on for two weeks and it keeps me occupied and off the street,” said Shaqiprim Mujaj, a 17-year-old who attends the P.A.L. at Columbus.