Concern about the increasing incidence of violence against children on their way to and from school has led a group of New York City principals to develop a plan to establish guarded subway trains for students only.
The group, “Principals for Safe Passage,” has approached officials of the city’s Transit Authority with the idea, but has not yet worked out the details of the proposal.
Jack Pollock, principal of Abraham Lincoln High School in the Bronx, said the group hopes to persuade transit authorities to reserve entire trains, on a specific schedule, for students traveling to and from school.
The trains would be supervised by a combination of transit police and school-security officials, Mr. Pollock said.
The plan is a response to what officials describe as a growing problem with marauding youth gangs that harass students.
Although there are no statistics on the number of incidents that have occurred, Mr. Pollock said, “the number is definitely not going down.”
“These are kids preying upon kids,” he said. “They look for the weak and vulnerable to attack.”
The goal of the proposal, he added, is to “reassure both parents and students that someone is paying attention.”
The principals’ group, which has won the support of Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez, will also address several other safety issues with the proposal.
Under the plan, a network of parents and school volunteers would guard students on the streets. In addition, children would be taught ways to avoid violence.
Because of the lack of data on the issue, the principals want better records to be kept on incidents of crime and violence against students.
The group also plans to lobby for better communication between officers of the city- and transit-police forces. Currently, the two departments work separately and do not use the same radio frequencies.
Despite the city’s current fiscal problems, the principals also will seek an increase in the number of transit police guarding subway trains.
Transit officials witheld comment on the plan last week pending release of a detailed proposal.--lj
A version of this article appeared in the April 04, 1990 edition of Education Week as Guarded Trains For Students in N.Y.C. Proposed