BY EDRIC ROBINSON
NEW YORK — Within two days, the NYPD has confiscated five guns from teenagers in public schools, causing parents to rally outside the Mott Haven Campus on Friday, demanding action.
“Every morning I get a text saying, ‘I’m here, dad, I’m here,’” Leonardo Coello said of his teenage high school children.
Coelllo is a proud father of two teen boys that go to schools in the Bronx. But as incidents pile up of teens getting caught with guns in schools, he says his concern grow for their safety.
“I know he’s there, but I’m praying every day that he makes it back, too,” Coello said.
He joined concerned parents and advocates calling attention to the five recent incidents of guns found on teens in city public schools.
“This gun epidemic that has seized our communities, where the politicians that created this problem are not doing anything to save our children,” Mona Davids, the rally organizer, said at the podium.
One incident happened Thursday in Queens at the Martin Van Buren High School, where officials said a 16-year-old was found with a loaded gun. Another happened in Brooklyn, where a 17-year-old was arrested for having a gun. Three of the incidents were in the Bronx, including one across the street from where organizers held the rally at the Mott Haven Campus.
“Imagine the guns that they missed, because that’s a reality,” Sammy Ravelo, a former NYPD officer, said speaking to the rally crowd. “I could tell you, 25 years as a police officer, they miss guns.”
Coello said he witnessed violence when he went to school, and wants to see more school safety agents. The organizing group NYC School Safety Coalition also wants metal detectors in every school.
“Our communities are under siege because we have teenagers duking it out, shooting each other in our streets,” said Davids, who is with NYC School Safety Coalition. “So it’s no surprise that this rampant gun violence in the streets has spilled over into the schools.”