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Students said that during the 2003-2004 school year the Brooklyn institution was plagued by one shoot-out in September 2003 and countless brawls, earning it a spot on the mayor's list of violent schoolsBut beefed-up security and a zero tolerance policy have slashed crime at the 3,623-student school on Jamaica Avenue just on the borders of Woodhaven and Ridgewood under a year-old citywide safety program, officials and students said. It is one of 16 schools across the city that Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday were safer under his schools Impact initiative he launched last January. Safety improved so much that Franklin Lane was among five schools taken off the list this week. The high school had a 82 percent reduction in major crime. Overall crime was cut in half, according to statistics from the mayor's office. Students credited an influx of school safety agents and police officers with the change. "It's a lot better than last year because you see less fights, more security," said Ivan, a 16-year-old junior from Brooklyn. He said school was different this year with safety officers constantly visible in the halls and on the streets before and after class. He was one of several teens who said a student was shot outside school last year and that fist fights would go uninterrupted for minutes.That is not the case this school year, they said. "There's fights, but they handle the situation quickly," said Francisco, 17, a junior. "They got a zero tolerance going on. You get in trouble, they suspend you."The 12-point code of conduct regulates how students dress, what they can bring to school and how they can move about. It bans headgear, shorts, revealing skirts and blouses, gang colors, sporting equipment and electronic devices. It states that students must have a pass to move through the building and must immediately leave unsupervised areas. Offenses are met with parental notification, suspension and even arrest. Still, one 16-year-old junior who identified himself as a gang leader named Bloody Sleeps said the strict rules have done little to deter his influence. "My Bloods run this school," he said on the sidewalk outside the athletic field. "You see the beads? You see the flag?" he said, pointing to his jewelry and black headband, symbols of his affiliation. But in the midst of his boast, a uniformed officer came down the sidewalk to shoo him from school property. "Don't be telling lies," the officer told the teen.He obeyed and strolled away, underlining the gravity of code of conduct rule No. 14: "Students must leave the school area at the completion of their school day. Loiterers on Jamaica Avenue and Dexter Court are subject to arrest."Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2005 Community Newspaper Group
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