Borough President Vito Fossella was surrounded by students from P.S. 78 to announce that the public playground adjacent to the school will be secured exclusively for their use during their recess.
The announcement came a month after the Stapleton school’s windows were pierced by bullets from a nearby shooting. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
Securing the playground exclusively to the P.S. 78 students is a collaboration with the City Department of Education, the City Parks Department, and District Attorney Michael McMahon.
“We walked around the playground and within a couple of days, thanks to the way government should work for the people starting with the mayor and all the way down to the Department of Education and the Parks Department, we were able to secure this facility for the children everyday between the hours of 9 o’clock and 2 o'clock for them to enjoy,” Borough President Fossella said during a press conference on March 8.
Principal Jodi Contento said collaboration is one of the core values taught at P.S. 78.
“Nobody could do it alone,” she said. “For me, this is about taking something negative that happened -- and we’re thankful that nobody got hurt -- and turning it into a positive. What happened was we were able to identify one of our needs. So, when the DA and the Borough President came, they asked us what it was that we needed. I told them that one thing that could be a quick fix is that we don’t have a playground. We don’t have a place that is just for P.S. 78."
She said gates and signage will be installed to alert the community about the new use of the playground during weekdays.
“This is a public playground, and of course we want the community to enjoy it, but we have to ensure that my 600 students who are going to come outside have a place to play that’s safe during these hours,” she said.
The students passed around the microphone to talk about the importance of having a playground to call their own.
“We need recess, because we have to take out all our energy, because in class we’re just sitting down and learning,” said Stanlee Uruchima, president of the third-grade student council. “We want to run around and play games and have fun.”
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