STATEN ISLAND — A Staten Island Education Council has taken the first step toward giving school safety agents the power to issue traffic violations in front of school, in an effort to rein in parents whose dangerous driving is putting kids at risk.
After receiving numerous complaints of parents who ignore agents' pleas to stop double parking or even triple parking in front of schools, and others who drive recklessly and make dangerous U-turns, Community Education Council 31 has written a resolution to allow school safety agents to write traffic violations in school zones across the city.
"There's definitely a need to improve safety around the schools and I think this is one measure that can actually help," said Mike Reilly, co-chairman of the CEC's Safety and Transportation committee, where the resolution originated.
"This would just be another way of getting people to comply with existing laws."
School safety agents, who are part of the NYPD, currently have the right to make arrests and issue some summonses. But without the power to issue tickets, they generally get ignored, according to Miguel Rodriguez, a retired police officer and parent at the Egbert Intermediate School in Midland Beach.
"[Agents] tell the parents they have to move the vehicle and they just look at them and say 'I'll move when my children gets out of school,'" Rodriguez said. "They're not going to arrest a person for that. At least if you have the threat [of a ticket] they'll have some teeth."
The NYPD did not respond to questions about giving additional powers to school safety agents.
Another parent at P.S. 55 said that the school's principal and assistant principal have also tried their hand at going outside to try to control the traffic, but also just get ignored.
"They'll ignore them to their face," said the parent, who did not want to be named, "People don't respect that they are the principals — the parents don't care."
Parents said they haven't seen any children get hurt, but there have been plenty of near-misses.
Rodriguez said he's even seen parents drop their kids off in the middle of Midland Avenue — forcing them to dodge other vehicles en route to the school's entrance.
"They'll drop their kids off in the middle of traffic. I see the kid running out of the car and I'm stopping some car trying to hit the child," he said. "It's insane. If you say something you're most likely going to get yelled at."
Still, supporters caution that they don't want agents' ability to write tickets to distract them from their duties to protect kids or to become a revenue engine for the city.
"I don't want it to be goals set by the NYPD on the amount of summonses issued," Reilly said. "We want this strictly to be a tool they can use to maintain safety around the schools."
Reilly posted the resolution on the CEC Facebook page to get feedback from parents.
The resolution will be discussed, and potentially voted on, by the full CEC committee at its next meeting on June 2.