For true school safety, those who shot teens at Tottenville High School must be brought to justice | Our opinion

STATEN ISLAND, NY — It’s been nearly five months since a 14-year-old student was injured in a shooting outside Tottenville High School in Huguenot.

The episode struck fear in the hearts of Tottenville’s parents and students, sending shockwaves across Staten Island and reigniting debate over safety in the city’s public schools.

But we still don’t know who was responsible for this nerve-racking shooting. The NYPD recently told the Advance that the incident is still under investigation.

But Tottenville parents and students are still concerned about their safety at school.

We can’t blame them. How can anyone in Tottenville sleep at night with this unsolved crime hovering over them? Why is it taking so long to track down the perpetrators when the video of the five people involved in the shooting was released long ago?

“It was shocking to see five children seemingly get away with a violent crime,” a mother of a Tottenville student recently told the Advance.

Unfortunately, the NYPD received no advance information to indicate that the Tottenville shooting was about to happen.

An unrelated incident where a train was attacked has only increased fear at the school. Some parents in Tottenville have begun driving their children to and from school in an effort to keep them out of harm’s way.

There are safety measures at school. Metal detectors have been in use at the school since 2019 and were used more regularly after the shooting. And the NYPD beefed up its presence in Tottenville after the incident.

But that lingering fear is still there. And it won’t go away until those involved in the shooting are caught and punished.

Anyone who was part of the group that committed this shooting must face legal ramifications for the injury caused and the fear caused, whether they pulled the trigger or not. And yes, that includes those too young to be treated as adults under New York criminal laws.

If any of the perpetrators want to avoid punishment, it’s up to them to come forward and share what they know.

Speaking to the Advance days after the shooting, Deputy Chief Marlon Larin, commanding officer of the NYPD School Safety Division, commendably said Tottenville would receive more safety resources.

Larin also acknowledged the need for more school safety officers, and he touched significantly on the uncertainty raised during the debate over the Department of Education’s takeover of the school safety division.

And the DOE should also be credited with finally deciding to lock the front doors of all city schools under a $43 million plan. That will help ease any public school parent’s fears.

Tottenville is certainly not alone when it comes to gun violence in schools. Last Tuesday alone, there were three gang-related school shootings in Manhattan.

And it wasn’t until last month that video emerged of a possible gun sliding across the gym floor during a basketball game at Moore Catholic High School.

But there are just too many unanswered questions when it comes to the Tottenville shooting: who were the perpetrators? Why did they open fire outside the school that day? Was it a targeted attack or something more random? Will these attackers return sometime in the future?

These are the questions that keep Tottenville’s parents and students awake at night. They, and everyone in the Staten Island School Community, deserve answers and closure.

Let’s bring the perpetrators of the Tottenville High School shooting to justice before they do any more harm.


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