Queens parents and politicians are asking the city’s Department of Education to shut the front doors of city schools after an “emotionally disturbed person” in Corona invaded PS 28 and had to be wrestled by staff including the headmaster.
“The fact that a mentally ill person was able to get into a Queens elementary school through an open front door is frightening for parents across the district,” Councilman Robert Holden said in a letter to Chancellor David Banks.
The NYPD’s late response to 911 calls — parents say it took police 19 minutes to arrive at the Thomas Emanuel Early Childhood Center — “only reinforces the notion that schools need to be closed,” Holden wrote, citing the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary and Uvalde, Tex.
Also sounding the alarm: Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “is aware of what happened at PS 28 and our office is actively investigating the incident,” a spokesman said.
PS 28 director Robert Quintana, who practices jiu-jitsu, joined several staff members in a desperate fight to hold down an 18-year-old who walked through the front door and ran into an elevator leading to the classrooms. Security agent Natalia Podolskaya, suffering knee injuries, finally handcuffed the intruder.
“Fortunately, this time there was no weapon involved. Next time there might be one,” local Community Education Council President Matthew Crescio said at a meeting following the Sept. 15 incident.
An NYPD spokesman told The Post it was responding to a 911 call School at 1:48 pm Two other security guards from the school arrived “approximately three minutes later” and found the intruder handcuffed. Eleven minutes later, the NYPD said, officers from the nearby 110th Precinct arrived and took the teen, who was not arrested, to a city hospital for a check-up.
All DOE school building doors must be locked except for the front doors. They remain open in case of emergencies and should be manned by an unarmed security officer, spokesman Nathaniel Styer said.
Among other security measures being studied, the DOE is “investigating the use of technology,” such as a buzzer system to screen visitors and restrict entry, he said.