Dozens of students have left after killing in Bx. class
A CRUSH of students and two staffers have fled the Bronx “Zoo School” where a student was killed in a classroom stabbing.
Since the Sept. 27 slaying of 15-year-old Matthew McCree at the Bronx Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation, about 30 students have transferred to other schools — and the two teachers who witnessed the attack are on paid leave, city Education Department officials said.
Students at the school said many staffers and kids are still badly traumatized by the incident — and many still feel unsafe.
“I’m leaving. I’ll be honest with you, this school is horrible,” said junior Rafael Rodriquez, 16, of the Bronx.
“I’ve never felt safe here. This school should be shut down for all time,” he added.
Rodriquez said he would be moving to a new school at the end of the school year in June.
City Education Department officials said they have granted transfers to all students who requested them for safety reasons.
“We are working closely with each family and staff member to address any requests and concerns, and will continue to provide the entire Wildlife community with ongoing support, including training for staff, counseling services and additional safety agents,” said Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness.
Wildlife Conservation Principal Astrid Jacobo was removed from the school in October and is working at a central office, Holness said.
Bronx Superintendent Fred Walsh tapped Frank Giaimo, formerly an Education Department administrator in the Bronx, to replace Jacobo on a temporary basis, officials said.
Holness said a thorough investigation is being conducted into school staffers’ handling of the classroom killing.
Abel Cedeno, 18, was charged with fatally stabbing Matthew, and slicing his best friend, Ariane LaBoy, 16, in front of horrified students.
Cedeno told the Daily News in a jailhouse interview that he “just snapped” after enduring constant bullying at school for his bisexuality.
Founded in 2007, the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation, is one of more than 200 small-themed high schools largely created under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration. Its enrollment now stands at about 450 students.
The school’s nickname is tied to an animal-focused curriculum and a partnership with the Bronx Zoo. But students say unchecked bullying at the school make it a “Zoo School” as well.
Only 55% of students said they feel safe in school hallways in a city Education Department survey in 2016 — far below the city average of 84%.
Just 19% of teachers reported feeling safe at the school in the same 2016 survey, far below the city average of 75%.