Custodian Chases Children From Boro Park Schoolyard, Uses Antisemitic Slur

By Matis Glenn

Yard of P.S. 160. (Google)

Children who were playing in the schoolyard of P.S.160 in Boro Park were “chased out” by the custodian of the school on May 18 and May 19, according to Community Board 12 District Manager Barry Spitzer. Earlier in the week, the custodian allegedly ran after one Chassidic boy in particular, shouting antisemitic epithets and chasing him a long distance until the boy found shelter in a nearby shul, according to testimony of the child and many parents, Mr. Spitzer told Hamodia. “He was terrified,” he said.

Spitzer is assisting the family with filing a police report.

Police were called May 19th by the school, located on 52nd Street and Ft. Hamilton Parkway, to remove the children – all of whom members of the Orthodox Jewish community – who were not accused of doing anything more than playing in the yard after school hours.

Until recently, children played in the yard after Yeshiva hours, which are later than public school dismissal times.

Last week, Spitzer received complaints from several parents that the school had begun locking the yard after dismissal. On May 13th, he spoke with the principal, Mrs. Margaret Russo, who told him that she would “check with the custodian,” to determine why the yard was being locked.

When asked by Councilman Kalman Yeger on May 17 why the schoolyard was being closed, Russo responded that that “the decision is at the discretion of the custodian,” and that the yard is not required to remain open, as the school “does not participate in the ‘Schoolyards to Playgrounds’ program,” according to the Community Board.

Yeger responded that “This is public property, it belongs to the taxpayers. They should be allowed to use it, whether they’re in the program or not,” he said.

“Taxpayers who don’t use the property for education should be able to use it to play on after school hours,” he continued.

Many neighboring schools keep their yards open until sunset. “I drove a few blocks away(on May 19th) and saw a schoolyard on 58th street with a large amount of children playing there,” Spitzer said.

Neighbors tell Spitzer that the custodian “locks the yard and washes his car.”

Community members were surprised. “This is the first time I’ve ever heard of cops being called on kids playing in a schoolyard,” said C., a Boro Park resident.

Councilman Yeger will be meeting with Department of Education officials at City Hall this week to discuss the matter, according to the Community Board.

A Department of Education spokesperson did not respond to Hamodia’s request for comment.

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