Committee Works on Complaints About Students

Assistant superintendent cites several steps to curb vandalism, noise complaints.

A committee formed to address complaints about the behavior of students and others outside Farmingdale High School appears to have made some progress.

Assistant School Superintendent Paul Defendini said at a school board meeting last week that gates, security cameras, signage, brighter lights and the positioning of a securty guard should reduce the complaints that have poured in from neighbors.

They have complained about drug and alcohol use before and after school, damage to cars, hazardous driving and noise.

Defendini said, "With the exception of the gates, all the changes will be made before the beginning of the school year."

Guards were put in place two weeks ago, Defendini said, and that no reports of problems had come in.

"Ultimately our own recourse is to call the police in the event our guard notices some misbehavior," he said. "We don’t have any false understanding that they may have greater impact than they do."

Residents said there were some problems with fencing that is being installed, including gaps that could allow determined youngsters to get onto private property, and noise from sports teams that start as early as 7 a.m. on weekends.

Resident Nick Diaz, who lives next to the high school, said he wanted some events moved to other schools because "We're seeing an aggressive increase in use. The negative spills out into the community."

But Superintendent John Lorentz said, "All our schools are neighborhood schools and we have a very active commuity with a lot of events, school and community events."

Another resident said, "There's been an explosion of youth athletics," but expressed hope that the addition of fields at Allen Park would take some of the pressure off school use.

Lorentz said, "I hope so because we're maxed out."

The district has noted that many of the problems that have incensed neighbors are occurring off school property and outside school hours.

One complaint about students parking on nearby streets is unlikely to be resolved because the district said it continues to prefer that students in lower grades take the bus and will not provide parking for them.



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