A proposal to establish a Truancy Processing Center at 1780 Ocean Avenue, in the Avenue M business district, just two doors away from Yeshivat Shaare Torah Girls High School, has been met with strong opposition both from the community and from elected officials. Councilmen throughout the city are expressing outrage over the Department of Education’s failure to reach out to the community during the planning process.

According to the proposal, school safety officers will take a truant directly to his or her school only if the school is nearby. Otherwise, the student will be taken to the Truancy Processing Center, and a parent will be called and asked to pick up the student by 2pm. If the parent does not pick up the child by this time, the student will be released from the Truancy Processing Center. As most parents will generally be at work or otherwise unavailable to pick up students by this time, most truants will be released into the neighborhood unsupervised where they could pose a significant risk to businesses, residents and other students in the area.

Councilman Michael Nelson stated, “I understand the anxiety and concern of many parents about the location of the Truancy Center. A lot of hard work which has gone into creating a safe and protective environment for the many school children in the area will be jeopardized by the proposed location in Midwood of a Truancy Processing Center near Yeshiva Shaare Torah. I will continue working with other community leaders in order to resolve this issue, and guarantee the safety of the children of our community.”

Councilman David G. Greenfield added, “This shortsighted decision is unfair to residents, schools and businesses in the area. Residents have enough to worry about without an influx of troublemakers in their neighborhood.”

Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, “News of this Truancy Center made parents fearful and for good reason. We need to make sure that our community remains informed and protected. Towards that end we hope to resolve this issue at our upcoming meeting.”

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs said, “The safety of children in our community must be put first. I have heard the cries of neighborhood parents about the proposed location for the Truancy Processing Center, and I will join my colleagues in fighting this proposal before our youth are put at risk.”