Troubled high-schoolers a threat at tot lot, Prospect Heights parents say

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Toddlers will get an unwelcome education in the school of hard knocks when an “alternative learning center” for suspended high school students opens next door to a Prospect Heights tot lot, parents of young children fear.

Neighbors are scared that teens who have been temporarily booted from city high schools will be rowdy, cause fights, and commit crimes near the teensy-slide and tire swing-boasting play space at Park Place and Underhill Avenue.

“It’s a sweet little place with lots of running around and scampering — not a spot to warehouse the worst students in the school system,” said neighborhood dad Jason Orans, who moved nearby partly because of the swing-set perks.

Up to 70 high schoolers will attend class at the facility — which opens Sept. 6 — “to receive academic support, counseling, and social-emotional learning,” according to the Department of Education.

The former office space has no kitchen or outdoor recreation area, which adds to the problem, other neighbors say.

“If you shut these students in all day with no space, they’re going to get rowdy,” said Susan Metz, a neighbor and former teacher who claims the city is “importing problems” to the community.

Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said the agency has met with elected officials and community leaders to plan how to oversee the teens and communicate with neighbors.

“[Class] dismissal will be staggered and staff will be on the perimeter as students leave the property,” said Feinberg. “A community coordinator will be on site available to the community.”

But that’s not enough for some parents, who fear the new school will give their kids a front-row seat to bad behavior — they want the learning center shut down completely.

“I’m worried about the energy and the tranquility of the neighborho­od,” said Orans, who added that he doesn’t feel comfortable with “any teens hanging around” near the tot lot, let alone ones “with emotional problems.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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Reader Feedback

Scott from Park Slope says:
Those parents have a point. The best place to locate that facility is on Wall Street where other rowdy, good-for-nothing criminals--er, I mean, bankers--lurk and cause mayhem.
Sept. 6, 2012, 8:04 am
old time brooklyn from slope says:
banker and proud of it !!!!
Sept. 6, 2012, 8:41 pm
benti from brooklyn says:
typical lefty chant...'not in my backyard'
Sept. 7, 2012, 4:11 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
old time, it is true that many thieves who get away with it are proud of themselves.
Sept. 7, 2012, 9:35 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Excuse me, but why would anyone be proud to be a banker? I could see not being ashamed of it, but proud? Now, I hope you don't take this the wrong way-look at me-I'm a tractor salesman. I make a decent living and I provide for my family. It's not a bad job and I'm tickled to have it. But proud? Pardon me-perhaps I got a little carried away.
Sept. 7, 2012, 12:15 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
Scott - if you assume I am a thied due to my carreer - whater floats your boat.ave written financing from bail bonds to nuclear power plants andI get paid pretty well for it too. Every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints. My wife is raking it in as well - tier two board of ed pension and $75 and hour tutoring 0 and that is cheap.
John - if being proud of what I do is beyond your comprehension (tractor salesman in Brooklyn - not much competition) I am also prould of being a White Anglo Saxon Caholic (Roman that is tyvm) staight male
Sept. 8, 2012, 12:32 pm
Quiet Riot from Brooklyn Heights says:
It would appear that the ability to type is not a required skill to be a banker.
Sept. 8, 2012, 2:13 pm
old time brookliyn from slope says:
i dont need to to type at work - i have a woman of color admin for houes keeping -
mazel tov
Sept. 9, 2012, 12:32 am
NoDiceJack from Brooklyn says:
Better yet lets put them in park slope so people like scott and old time can enjoy diversity they always whine about in their own predominantly white neighborhood
Sept. 9, 2012, 2:47 am
old time brooklyn from slope says:
thank god it's white - except for the help that is
Sept. 9, 2012, 11:18 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
just send them to brownsville that will straighten them out and no one will complain.
Sept. 9, 2012, 9:06 pm
Moishe from Ditmas park says:
old time:
you stink
Sept. 14, 2012, 1:27 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
moishe pipick - i smell pretty good - mazel tov (ditmas park is flatbush)
Sept. 15, 2012, 8:28 am

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