View Full Version : BK-BoCoCa After Playground Fire, Tension Persists Between PS 29 and St. Ann's Parents

05-25-2011, 09:39 AM
From the N.Y. Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/25/nyregion/after-fire-tension-between-ps-29-and-saint-anns.html) by Liz Robbins:
Metal fencing wrapped around the charred monkey bars and partly melted plastic slides of a jungle gym in a police-barricaded corner of the Public School 29 playground in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

It has been more than two weeks since six students who do not attend P.S. 29 — including two 16-year-old students from the nearby Saint Ann’s School — set fire to a playground slide during a stunt intended, fire marshals said, for a YouTube video.

The students fled the scene, and within an hour the blaze, which occurred at 12:51 a.m. on May 8, was put out by firefighters. But the community ire has not abated.

Tensions remain between some private- and public-school parents over a perception of privilege, after some families whose children were accused of damaging the playground contributed $50,000 to repair it.

Other parents from both schools — considered two of the best in Brooklyn and separated by 14 blocks — see the criminal act as less about class and more about “teenagers being teenagers.” But everyone at P.S. 29 and Saint Ann’s agrees: the fire has generated a powerful lesson in responsibility.

“The community is still hurting and the children are still hurting, and that’s my primary concern,” said Melanie Woods, the principal at P.S. 29. “The kids who did this were clearly misguided. An apology is necessary.”

The two 16-year-old boys from Saint Ann’s, Bairn Sweeney and Max Layton, surrendered to fire marshals and are being tried as adults, and four more students were arrested, said James Long, a Fire Department spokesman. Because they are minors, their names were not released, but at least two are also believed to be students at Saint Ann’s, people with knowledge of the investigation said.

Mr. Layton and Mr. Sweeney have been charged with criminal mischief, arson and reckless endangerment and face a maximum sentence of seven years...

Mr. Layton is the son of Charles Layton, the president of the Canadian company Alliance Films, which distributed the Oscar-winning movie “The King’s Speech.”

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