By Corinne Lestch / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, March 12, 2012, 6:00 AM
Enid Alvarez/New York Daily News
[Students] of Bronx Regional High School Campus are furious that the city plans to put a new charter school for troubled youth inside the already overcrowded building. They walked out of their school in protest on Friday.
[Students] at a Bronx complex that houses two transfer high schools fear a [new school].
Bronx Regional High School and Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy will share close quarters in September with ROADS Charter High School II, a school for youth who have histories with the criminal justice system, as well as foster and homeless kids.
“They’re going to change the environment,” said Aiesha Vegas, a 17-year-old Schomburg student. “We already have aggressive kids in our school, and if another school comes in, there’s gonna be kids bumping heads with them.”
There will be a public hearing Monday at 6 p.m. at 1010 Rev. James A. Polite Ave. on the DOE’s decision to co-locate ROADS. A vote on the proposal is scheduled for March 21.
“We’ve worked very hard to create a supportive environment,” said Schomburg teacher Dirk Peters, 30. “These are children who haven’t been successful in a traditional academic setting, and we have to work really hard to build a community.”
The DOE is also consulting with school safety about whether to install cameras and metal detectors, further upsetting staff and students at the existing schools who boast they don’t need the extra security.
Seth Litt, the incoming principal of ROADS and a Bronx native, defended the charter and said all the schools should collaborate to provide a solid education for marginalized youth.
“All the kids in our community deserve success,” said Litt, 32, who received degrees from Tufts and Fordham universities. “People have the right to have questions and concerns, but we’re going to be providing a very important option.”
Litt has already hosted information sessions for interested parents, and plans to hold more as the April 2 application deadline nears to fill 150 seats.
According to a Department of Education report, the building has a capacity for about 1,600 students. It currently houses about 1,000 students, which means it has a 67% “utilization rate.”
But Schomburg teachers said their school will lose nearly half of its classroom space once ROADS moves into the five-story building, taking rooms on the fourth and fifth floors.