Concerns Grow About Violence near Kennedy High At Dismissal

Photo from New Jersey Schools Development Authority files


PATERSON, NJ - Officials say there has been a recent increase in fights among Kennedy High students near the school at dismissal time, especially confrontations between black and Dominican youths.
City police say they have had an "extra presence" at Kennedy, as well as at Eastside, for more than a month and education officials are planning a meeting among students to try to resolve the tensions. Parents and officials say some groups of students have armed themselves with baseball bats after school and there have been reports from parents and one teacher - which authorities have not confirmed -of students having machetes.
"I tried to call everybody about the situation and it's like they don't care,'' said Latinya Sinclair, whose 16-year-old son is a junior at the school. "If my son gets stabbed, I'm coming after the school and I'm coming after the police. Where is the protection?''

Sinclair said her son and several other black students recently were jumped by Dominican youths who she said mistook them for a group called the "Westside Boys.'' There were large brawls after school in the Kennedy neighborhood several times in the past two weeks, she said.
A teacher at Kennedy, who asked to remain anonymous, said the situation has created fears among students not involved in the fighting.
"It's out of control,'' said Councilman Aslon Goow, who represents the 2nd Ward, where Kennedy is located. The problem goes beyond racial rivalries between the black and Dominican students, Goow said.
Several weeks ago, an area resident walking through West Side park was attacked by three youths wearing Kennedy school uniforms after dismissal time, Goow said. Moreover, teens have been robbing onions and potatoes from area grocery stores and throwing them at passing vehicles, Goow said.
During the fall there had been a similar surge in after school violence near Eastside, including one instance in which several black youth badly beat members of a Dominican family at laundromat on Park Avenue.
After the city's decision last spring to lay off more than a dozen school crossing guards, police officers have been assigned to those posts in the mornings and afternoons. That has left fewer cops on patrol at those times of day, officials said.
But city law enforcement officials say they have shifted manpower to address the problems at Paterson's two main high schools. "All I can say is we have extra presence at both high schools,'' said Deputy Police Chief Danny Nichols.
In response to complaints from parents, the school district is planning a meeting with students to try to curtail the problem, said spokeswoman Terry Corallo.
City Council President Anthony Davis, who represents the 1st ward, which has many Kennedy students, said he has heard about the fighting. "I'm investigating what's going on,'' Davis said.
Paterson Schools Commissioner Pedro Rodriguez, who lives on the city's North Side, said he doesn't think the Kennedy fighting has become as bad as the situation was at Eastside in the fall. But, Rodriguez warned, February tends to become a volatile time for the city's racial tensions. Not only is it black history month, but Dominican Independence Day falls on February 27.
"You see an increase in fights,'' Rodriguez said. "People show their flags and wave them in the other guy's face and then he gets ticked off and the fight starts.''

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Free Dog Training Classes

May 22, 2018

Does your family have a new dog or puppy that needs to get trained? You do not have to spend a fortune training Fido. Come to Passaic County's Free Dog Training Sessions in Goffle Brook Park in Hawthorne. Classes are held every Monday and Thursday from 6pm-8pm through June, July, and August. 

For more info, or to see if weather canceled the event, please call 973-881-4833. 

Paterson Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh Announces Transition Team Leadership

PATERSON, NJ – Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh today announced the leadership of his transition team, which will examine the current state of municipal government, make recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of city services, and help make the necessary preparations for the launch of the new administration on July 1.

“As I said throughout my campaign, we intend to ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

Passaic County CASA Recognizes Volunteer Child Advocates at Annual Event

May 11, 2018

WAYNE, NJ- More than 50 staff members, volunteers, and board members from Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) celebrated the impact of CASA volunteers at the organization's Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on April 28, 2018, at Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne. This annual event recognizes Passaic County CASA volunteer advocates and the difference they make in the lives of ...

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver Testimony on Proposal to Divert Affordable Housing Funds

May 21, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- TAPinto Paterson earlier reported on the response of local community leaders and activists on a proposal by Governor Phil Murphy to divert $46 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) which they wrote in a letter signed by representatives of over 100 groups statewide is “legally dedicated to the creation of affordable homes for lower income ...

Local Advocates Join Statewide Call for Restoration of Affordable Housing Funds

PATERSON, NJ- The leaders of several local organizations including Paterson Habitat for Humanity, Saint Paul’s Community Development Corporation, the Paterson Housing Authority, and the City of Paterson’s Neighborhood Assistance Office lent their signatures to a letter urging Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature to preserve a fund dedicated to creation of affordable ...

The Elections are Over, Now it's Time to Collaborate!

May 21, 2018

For much of the past six months Paterson’s focus has been on the races for mayor and council, and rightly so. The elected officials that serve the nearly 150,000 residents of our city have an enormous responsibility, their actions dictating not just success of our community, but the way our City is perceived.

The election is now behind us, and we congratulate all who took part in the ...