2004-10-01 / Letters

Thanks For Helping

Dear Editor;

This letter comes to say thank you to some caring people. So often, we hear bad news coming from the housing developments, so when something good takes place we should also tell that as well. On September 4, a group of concerned parents, guardians and just concerned residents, gave the children of Redfern houses a back to school cookout and also distributed school supplies. These people did not have government grants or money from NYCHA to do this. They used their own resources to show the children they cared. What is troubling is more parents did not help, and while there was an incident the whole thing turned out wonderfully. Parents, you must take responsibility for your child or children, stop saying not my child and what your child wont do or is not doing, because chances are they are doing that and much more.

Please know it’s ok to say “I need help with parenting”, because children don’t come with instructions. What’s not ok is to take a blind eye to what is happening to your neighborhood because of your child or children. At some point you will be held accountable whether its at the funeral or on a visit. On September 4, 2004 people stepped up to the plate and not only said I care but showed it as well. Joyce Turner, Janet Howard, Faihem & Wife Janet, Nikki, Kim, Charmaine, Mike, and there were others whose names aren’t known, but to all of you THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU FOR BEING REAL AND KEEPING IT REAL AT ALL TIMES. WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE FOR US TO COME TOGETHER PARENTS? MORE KILLING? MORE FUNERALS? WHAT? IT STARTS AT HOME. WE HAVE NO ONE TO BLAME UNTIL WE START WITH OURSELVES, and take responsibility of our children. At this point we must focus more on being parents than being friends. It might not make you popular but it just may save a life. Again many thanks for what you all did for the youth of Redfern, and the next time, parents, your help is asked for, remember the children are watching.




Tragedy In Russia

Dear Editor,

Regarding the Muslim’s massacre of children in Russia, it is a reminder of what could have occurred in the U.S.A., the reason why it didn’t happen in here is because the U.S.A. has the terrorists pinned down in the war of Iraq.

In the meantime Kerry still hasn’t come up with a plan to fight the terrorists, so far he only said that he is going to conduct a “sensitive” war. Mr. Kerry – get real!

Kerry the scary!


Editor Owes Us An Apology!

Dear Editor,

This letter is sent to you in response to your article, written by Howard Schwach, “From The Editor’s Desk,” a few weeks back. The PTA Board, parents, students, staff and community leaders were appalled with your slanderous article when you named Beach Channel students as 18 year old criminals.

There are hard working, dedicated and very talented seniors – 350 at present – attending the school, so to label them criminals as you did is an outrage. What does that say for all the 3,000 younger students at Beach Channel other than when they become a senior and 18 they will be categorized by The Wave to be a criminal. Your over exaggerated article, to make for a story, has caused parents to reconsider sending their children to a school that they now feel to be unsafe. Shame on you, Mr. Schwach, for your harmful and detrimental article which directly affected the students of Beach Channel. You did not write a newsworthy story for the Rockaway community readers, you harmed thousands of innocent children who attend the school, wish to attend the school and those who seek a dream of going on to a good college but are now considered to be, as you stated, a criminal.

You, as a prior educator in the public school system, should have been considerate to the fact and realized how hurtful a comment of that magnitude in your article would be to children. There are many positive attributes that the school provides to its students and community, but are never mentioned. For example, our band has played for President Clinton and traveled to Disney World in Florida; Relay For Life involves many students and raises funds; the Thanksgiving dinner provided to all the senior citizens in Rockaway from the students every year; the sports teams and the after school clubs that travel around the city for games and competitions; and the Drama Club performing plays for Rockaway residents, just to name a few.

We ask that in the future you contact the PTA Board so that you are correctly informed in your reporting with factual information.

On behalf of the students of Beach Channel, we ask that you publicly apologize to them and retract the statement you made in the next publication of The Wave.



Kids And Drugs

Dear Wave Editor:

I usually don’t respond to your letters yet as a mother of two teens and the sister of a man who died from drugs, I felt the need to share my personal views on kids and drugs. I grew up in Roxbury and spent many a day in Rockaway. My parents tried to teach us what they knew about life and they trusted us to be honest with them as to where we were or who we were with.  If we lied to our parents about what we were doing, remember they trusted us to be honest, how can we expect them to stop us from taking drugs or drinking?  My brother never kept his drugs in our house, he carefully hid them before coming home.  Drug users are great at hiding what they are doing and by the time the parents are aware of what has happened the teen is now fully addicted.

Yes, you can get at home drug testing to test your child for what is very obvious but have you ever tried to get a strung out kid to allow you to get close enough for a drug test? My personal experience got me cursed out and beaten just for trying to get a loved one help. I know you are thinking I should have called the cops yet the police can only do so much and we still have to live with the addict who doesn’t want help, they just want whatever money you give them (or they take while you sleep). Kids today don’t think parents have that right to tell them what to do, some of these kids are 11 or younger. Fortunately, my kids, as far as I know, have not delved into this world of drugs because they say they don’t.  Then again I told my parents the same thing.

You talk about your friend calling you and your parents being asleep.  When I was a teen and got a phone call from a frantic friend, my parents taught me to do one of two things- wake them up to help my friend or call the parents of my friend and let them know about the call. I don’t say this to burden you with guilt because as a teen I didn’t always make the best choices.  You say the parents of Rockaway need to stop their teens and wake up to what is going on but I think the friends of these teens also need to reach out to the adults and let them know what is going on so the parents can make the choice to help their child.

Angela, I hope your wish for the drug abuse and drinking to stop comes true. When my brother died, he was surrounded by “friends” who never told his family he was using again and we never got the opportunity to reach out to him. That saddens me more. I haven’t lived in Rockaway for 20 years now and there are more than 5 teens and a whole lot more adults I am aware of that deal and use. Those families are trying to get help for those who really want it.  Other families have buried the ones who didn’t want help.

Again, Angela I hope your wish comes true.


Local Would Be Good

Dear Mr. Schwach,

For many years, as a Rockaway resident and former CSD27 board member, I looked forward to your weekly School Scope column. I may not have always agreed with opinions but your weekly essay usually focused on local issues or on issues that directly affected the day to day education of our children. 

Your new columnist, Norman Scott, is clearly a frustrated UFT member whose rantings and ravings give little insight as to what is going on in the district or classroom.  Certainly the change over in school governance has frustrated many of us.  By eliminating the local School Boards the mayor has taken control of the sch ools and certainly the Department of Education has done its best to make the new District Councils impotent, but we also must give credit where credit is due. 

While Mr. Scott spent his last column quoting newspapers I have already read, he seems oblivious to the many good changes the new regime has done in Rockaway, things that never could have been accomplished under the structure of the old Central Board for which Mr. Scott yearns.  When Dr. Cashin became Regional Superintendent of Region 5, her first words to me were that she was concerned with level of instruction in Rockaway and wanted to restructure the Rockaway schools so that all the children living on the Peninsula would be offered the best education possible.  My first thought was I’ve heard all this before.  But Dr. Cashin had something available to her that no other previous superintendent ever had, the support of a central organization that would allow her to be innovative and creative.  In the past, when the idea of converting MS198 into a K-8 school was brought to the table we were told that there was no way the BATHROOMS could ever be converted to accommodate young children, that the cost would be high. Well, today MS198 has been converted into a K-8 gifted school that will serve the entire peninsula.  IS 53 has a new Charter School, started by State Senator Malcolm Smith and supported by the D of E. Oh yes, MS180 will become the Scholars Research Academy next year and three classes of sixth graders at PS114 did not go over the bridge to Brooklyn this year, electing to remain and attend a restructured 180 next year.  Oh, let me not forget, Alps has become the Channel View School for Research and is being housed at Beach Channel High School. From what I gather the transition has gone well and the parents who for so many years fought for the retention of a program they loved so much have gotten their wish.  Wait, one more thing, all the elementary schools from Arverne to the west end of the peninsula are structured K-8, something for which the parents had been asking for years.  Most of these changes were accomplished in one year.  One year where a central organization had the capacity and desire to institute an end to many years of institutional failure that the past bureaucracy was unable or unwilling to change.

Over my desk at work hangs the following words, “Insanity is continuing the same process while hoping for a different or better result”. Unfortunately the mantra of the old Board of Education never allowed the process to change. Now, let’s be clear.  As I said earlier the D of E seems intent on taking local control away.  The new District Councils have the power, authorized by the State Assembly, to have a good deal of local control, even more than the local School Boards had. I also am not naive enough to believe that these changes in the Rockaway schools means instant success and certainly there will be many bumps along the way.  At least a new process has been put into place and School Scope should be letting us know how these changes are progressing.

Mr Scott, the people of Rockaway would like you to at least SOMETIMES report on the local District Council and the goings on in our local schools. Your tirades against Bloom-Klein are boring and meaningless to me. Your agenda should be to inform us on what’s happening locally, not on how you are protesting a system that has already helped our local children.



CSB 27

Beach 123 Street

Ocean Rescue

Dear Editor,

I was on the beach with my four-year old triplets on Rosh Hashanah enjoying a spectacular September summer day, when I head someone yelling for help from the ocean. A moment later, a woman from Beach 122 Street ran up, asking if there was anyone around with a long board who could get into the ocean quickly, because there was someone in trouble. The nearest surfers were on Beach 127, but as I watched, I saw two local guys dive in on Beach 122 Street and start to swim out to help the two young men. I called 911 and had to give them my home address because the computer didn’t want merely an intersection. I told them we had a possible drowning and needed our local firefighters, who are trained in ocean rescue.

The boys were out very far, past the sand bar it seemed, and I as I watched helplessly from the shore, I saw them being pulled further and further away from their possible rescuers by the relentless tide. A third person ran in with a boogie board that someone else had run for blocks to bring over. By the time the guys got to the boys in distress, they were on 123 Street, and the first fire truck was pulling up. Those guys from 137 were amazing. The first guy was down to the shore, shoes and socks off, and in the water in a flash with a floatation buoy. The surfboard guys were right behind him, tearing various items of clothes off on the way. It had only been about three minutes since I called.

We have all heard stories of in-fighting among our rescue agencies, but let me tell you, I never saw any hint of that as I watched three different groups of our city’s finest, bravest and (what do the EMT’s call themselves)? EMS worked furiously together to bring the boys in, get them taken care of, and secure the scene. The NYPD helicopter was overhead by the time the firefighters were taking the young men out of the water, and then it landed on Beach 123 Street, giving my boys the thrill of their lives, to take the rescued boy to Peninsula. The speed with which they transported him must have been part of why he lived, because he did not appear to be breathing when he came out of the water. I kept my children away for fear they might be seeing someone die. Instead, they saw locals, firefighters, police, and EMS rescue two boys who were caught unawares by the power of the ocean.

Today, my triplets are playing with their helicopter, fire trucks and ambulances, conducting rescues in our living room. I am reassured that the heroic spirit and courage I saw yesterday is alive and well and exists here in our midst, although we may sometimes lose sight of it.


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