Klein Visit Marred by Outburst
Student interrupts discipline meeting

By Glenn Thrush
STAFF WRITER

December 16, 2003

If Schools Chancellor Joel Klein needed a lesson in classroom violence, he got one yesterday at Far Rockaway High School.

An early morning meeting Klein hosted on disciplinary issues at the troubled school was briefly interrupted when an unruly 17-year-old was hauled out in handcuffs for disorderly conduct.

The student, a ninth-grader, was taken into custody by school safety officers after he refused to show his ID in a third-floor hallway at 8:45 a.m.

The boy, howling obscenities and struggling to break free, was marched past stunned reporters staking out the Klein meeting.

After being issued a desk appearance ticket at the 101st Precinct, the boy was returned to the school with his parent - only to be thrown out again for yelling at an assistant principal, according to a spokesman with the Education Department.

The anti-violence meeting, also attended by Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott and teachers union boss Randi Weingarten, was interrupted when participants opened the door to find out the source of the ruckus.

"It was just unbelievable," said one of the officials at the meeting.

The incident came two days after Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted his administration had "done a lousy job" of removing violent students from schools. Bloomberg vowed to open four new suspension centers by the end of the year.

In recent days, Far Rockaway has been a focal point for critics. Cops had to use pepper spray to break up two melees at the high school last week.

Those problems, combined with a handful of other fights at schools, led to a Friday night City Hall meeting between Walcott, Klein and Weingarten to discuss new approaches to the issue.

The parties agreed to meet again in Rockaway on Monday to discuss recent problems at the school with faculty and law enforcement officials present, Walcott said. "We're not going to allow a few bad apples to intimidate students and teachers," Walcott said. "This kind of thing won't be tolerated."

The student will learn his fate tomorrow when he's scheduled to appear for another appointment with an assistant principal, Department of Education spokesman Paul Rose said.

Copyright ? 2003, Newsday, Inc.