Spike in daytime shootings has NYC parents on edge over outdoor classrooms

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan for students to attend outdoor classes due to the coronavirus crisis comes as daytime shootings have surged this summer — and cops say it’s a surefire recipe for disaster.

Meanwhile, parents also worry that increasing shootings, lawlessness and rampant street homelessness across the city mean their kids won’t even be safe on their way to and from indoor classes.

NYPD statistics obtained by The Post show that shooting incidents between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. more than tripled during July, from 21 in 2019 to 66 this year.

The number of victims also kept pace, increasing from 23 to 72. And during August, 51 people were shot through Aug. 25, according to the data. That’s more than twice the 25 who were gunned down during the entire 31 days of August last year.

“We think sending kids to school outside is the dumbest thing in the world,” said one NYPD detective.

“The majority of shootings have been in the a.m. Why would you want to put your kids in a park early in the a.m.? You have the risk of people playing basketball, getting into an argument and shots being fired and hitting a kid.”

A high-ranking police source said of the city’s students, “You can’t guarantee their safety outside.”

“It’s not like they get into shooting stances and take aim,” the official said of the city’s gunmen.

“They just let the bullets fly. That’s why they have so many innocent bystanders shot.”

The cop added: “I wouldn’t let my kids out there.”

Parents echoed the concerns.

Isabella Perez, who lives in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, said she’s opted for “blended learning” for her two sons, ages 5 and 7, but fears for their safety en route to the neighborhood’s Washington Heights Academy.

“My kids need the in-person experience at school. When my 7-year-old was taking remote classes, it was a disaster. He would have been better off having no school at all,” said Perez, 27.

“I’m looking forward to them going back to school, but not walking them to school. The streets aren’t safe anymore. People get held up at gunpoint. I’ll have to watch them like a hawk.”

An Upper West Side mom who gave her name as Danielle said there’s “no way” she’d let her 10-year-old daughter take classes outside.

“I wouldn’t even let her walk to school, and we only live a block and a half away,” she said.

“People who don’t live on the Upper West Side don’t understand how much it’s deteriorated in the past few months, and how dangerous it’s become for children.”

An Upper East Side father said his friends are considering escorting groups of kids to and from school to ensure their security.

“Of course, people are anxious,” he said. “There is so much petty crime and just menace out there on the street — even on the walk to school — that parents are concerned.”

Ofelia Flores with her 8-year-old daughter Sophia Sozzani.
Ofelia Flores with her 8-year-old daughter, Sophia SozzaniMatthew McDermott

The worried dad added: “There is the feeling that de Blasio has let things get out of control … Not in a million years did I think we would get to this point.”

Ofelia Flores of Woodside, Queens — whose daughter attends school on the Upper West Side — said she was worried for her.

“The homeless are everywhere now. They’re going to scare the kids — or worse,” Flores said.

“I don’t think anyone is going to feel safe.”

A Brooklyn mom who takes her child to school in Hell’s Kitchen on the subway — and through the 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal station — said the increasing number of homeless people there was “not a pretty picture.”

“It’s been getting steadily worse over the last few years but now the things they see on their way to school are just frightening,” she said.

“You’re on edge the whole time. It’s not the best way for a kid to start their day.”

The city’s principals union has said de Blasio’s plan raised “serious concerns about safety and security,” and the head of the union that represents school safety officers told The Post: “We haven’t been briefed on any plan for outdoor classes. What I know about it is what I read in the media.”

“The kids are easy targets and I’m very concerned,” said Greg Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237.

“We have schools in areas where there are homeless people, a rise in shootings and gang members ruling the streets.”

Floyd also noted that safety agents aren’t armed and said he would want to see “at least one police officer in the area.”

“If you don’t articulate your plan ahead of time to get feedback and maybe learn about an angle you hadn’t thought of, you’re set up to fail,” he added.

When asked for comment, City Hall provided a transcript of remarks de Blasio made last week, when he said that “outdoor learning … is not a requirement in the least.”

“Outdoors is optional,” he said.

“Outdoors is additional if a principal wants to take advantage of it, go ahead.”

Additional reporting by Selim Algar, Carl Campanile and Julia Marsh


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