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Editorial: Senseless violence

The attacker used a...

By The TimesLedger

It is a terrible irony that at a time when the city is going to great lengths to crack down on school violence, a 16-year-old student was slashed by a 15-year-old girl in the hallway of Grover Cleveland high School in Ridgewood.

The attacker used a single-edged razor, the kind of weapon that can easily go undetected. The victim required 26 stitches, her face will be badly scarred. Grover Cleveland is not one of the “dirty dozen” schools targeted by the city because they are considered especially dangerous.

The attack occurred outside the principal’s office. The victim’s mother said she had asked to have her daughter transferred out of the school because of concerns about her safety. The family is suing the school system. Who could blame them? If they win or settle out of court, the money will come from a school system that is already underfunded. There will be less funds to spend on counselors and school safety personnel.

For the time being, it seems as though there is no safe school, no place where innocent children don’t fall victim to senseless violence. It’s doubtful that metal detector would have prevented this crime. And it also seems that the attacker was not concerned about the consequences of her actions. Harsh punishment is called for but it would be foolish to hope that punishment will prevent the next attack.

The public school system will find ways to identify violent students and place them in special schools before they cause serious harm to teachers or other students. In addition to tougher policing, more counselors are needed to help students deal with the frustration and anger before it turns to violence. But the highs schools in Queens remain badly overcrowded and understaffed.

The schools chancellor appears sincere in his determination to reduce school violence. He has put together a team of knowledgeable professionals with experience in the fields of social work and criminal justice. This is a big step forward. But it is also a step that came too late for 15-year-old girl in Ridgewood Queens.

Editorial: Who’s on first?

The only thing missing in the ongoing fiasco at the College Point ballfields is the rubber chicken. Seven years ago the city took the ballfields away from the College Point Sports Association because the association had unwittingly allowed an unscrupulous contractor to dump soil on the fields that was littered with construction debris.

The Sports Association had been paying $1 a year for the use of the fields. The Parks Department concluded that the Sports Association could not be trusted to care for the fields. Since then the city bureaucrats have shown that when it comes to incompetence the Sports Association was really Little League. The city locked the gates and for six years it did nothing. And when the city finally tried to get the job done, it failed repeatedly. Last week, just weeks before the boys and girls of summer were hoping to show up for spring training, the Department of Design and Construction fired a second company hired by the city to complete work on the fields.

It took NASA less years to put a man on the moon.

The city owes the Sports Association and the children of College Point an apology. As soon as the work is completed, the fields should be returned to the Sports Association and the bumbling bureaucrats that turned an unfortunate blunder into a 7-year-long nightmare should go back to Manhattan.

Editorial: So young, so cold

Police have charged two teenage boys from Rochdale Village with beating to death a 19-year-old man delivering food for his father's Chinese restaurant. It was a crime as vicious as it was foolish. According to the police, one of the suspects ordered the food delivered to his home. If the police are right, it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to solve this crime.

The police say the suspects staged the crime to get money to buy new sneakers. They then allegedly beat the man to death so they couldn’t be identified. Once again we are compelled to question how two boys barely on the brink of manhood could be capable of such a vicious crime. This was, according to the police, not a robbery gone bad, but cold-blooded, premeditated murder.

The same question was raised last week when we reported that three boys, ages 15, 16 and 17, were accused of shooting and nearly killing a car service driver in Rosedale. Police say the boys were leaving Sweet 16 party when they decided to call for the car. They are lucky that their victim didn’t die.

A 36-year-old limo driver nearly lost his life just trying to make a meager living. And a 19-year-old young man trying to help his father on a busy night is dead. Adding to this tragic toll is the grim reality that these five young men may spend the next 25 years of their lives in a state prison.

Editorial: Don’t scrap B Ball

Last week we applauded the decision of Rev. Donald J. Harrington to suspend several St. John’s University basketball players after they were caught allegedly bringing a woman back to their hotel room. But the university president is wrong to even think about disbanding the basketball program altogether.

Rebuilding a basketball program that will be competitive in the Big East without compromising the core values of the university will not be easy. But neither is it impossible.

Harrington must realize how important the Red Storm has been both to his university and to the thousands of fans in New York City. One only has to think back to the days of the great Lou Carnesecca, one of the finest men to ever coach any sports team, to know that the university doesn’t have to compromise its principles to build a great basketball program. Carnesecca retired from St. John’s after winning national respect for the St. John’s program.

It’s hard to imagine St. John’s without basketball. And it’s hard to imagine a winter in New York City without St. John’s basketball.

Editorial: Patience

By now most readers in northeast Queens have read about the drug bust on Bell Boulevard near the Bay Terrace shopping center. Thirteen suspects were arrested for selling drugs that ranged from marijuana to cocaine to Ecstasy and pain killers.

But what may have eluded readers is the fact that the bust was the result of 10 months of investigation. During that time, undercover detectives risked their live making the purchases that would give them the evidence they needed. This kind of police work takes tremendous patience and extraordinary courage.

The brave men and women who took these drug dealers off the streets of Bayside deserve the public's respect and gratitude.

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