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Residents of a Flushing housing complex want students from two nearby high schools to stop engaging in X-rated extracurricular activities in their backyards.
The teens are having sex in broad daylight in the sheltered greenspace in Parsons Gardens, near the intersection of Parsons Boulevard and 76th Avenue, according to a civic organization.
“This is happening,” said Kenneth Cohen, president of the Flushing Suburban Civic Association at a recent meeting. “It’s not nice to come home ... in the middle of the day and find someone half-naked in your lawn chair.”
Cohen was speaking at a Community Education Council District 25 meeting earlier this month.
In a subsequent interview, Cohen said the buildings that make up the Gardens surround a common lawn that the students use for their illicit behavior.
“They feel safe when they go in the back of the building,” he said. “It has been a real ongoing issue in the community.”
Cohen pointed to two nearby high schools as a source.
Robert F. Kennedy High School, at 75-40 Parsons Blvd., is right across the street from the Gardens, while the Queens School of Inquiry, which contains a high school and middle school at 158-40 76th Road, is less than a block away.
But the principals of the two schools called the allegations absurd.
Beshir Abdellatif, principal of Robert F. Kennedy, said the idea was “ridiculous,” and that he keeps a tight watch on his students after school gets out.
“Talk to the businesses around. They will tell you, ‘He is taking business away from us’ because I don’t let kids hang around,” Abdellatif said.
After school, he and the deans shuffle the kids on public buses so they are not causing mischief in the neighborhood.
Meredith Rosenblatt is the principal of the Queens School of Inquiry, and said the allegations of al fresco sex were completely out of character for her students.
“I have not heard that this was occurring from students, parents or anyone else in the neighborhood,” she said, adding that her small high school of 300 students have been together since the sixth-grade and tend not to even date each other, let alone canoodle in public.
Her school is also an open campus, with students frequently commuting to Queens College for class, but she does not have a problem with children cutting class or arriving late.
Cohen chalked the illicit behavior up to the fact that the kids come from all over District 25, which roughly encompasses the neighborhoods of College Point, Whitestone, Flushing and Queensboro Hill. Since the students can come from any of those neighborhoods, many of them do not live in the area where the high schools are, and thus feel they can act with impunity.
“Before, you wouldn’t do anything to and from school because your neighbor would see,” he said, adding that that neighbor would then likely tell the child’s parents. Cohen said he invited the principals to a meeting several weeks ago, but neither attended.
Rosenblatt — who maintained that many of her students are in fact from the neighborhood — said she had a scheduling conflict and sent the principal of the middle school on the entire building’s behalf.
Abdellatif said he never received an invitation to a meeting and would gladly sit down with Cohen.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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