Students Not Allowed to Play Outside

Students Not Allowed to Play Outside Some South Jersey students are being held hostage inside their school because of the violence outside their school's walls.

The New York Avenue School in Atlantic City just opened this year, but the brand-new playground equipment has gone unused because the school has been locked down.

"We don't get to go outside," said Des'Monay Barnes, a fifth-grade student. "The people around here, they shoot and (the school officials) want to keep us inside to be safe."

A rash of recent violence, such as a shooting and standoff Wednesday just blocks from the school, prompted the decision to keep the school in lockdown. It has been that way since last month, when someone fired shots directly across the street from the school that serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

"To have this type of environment so close to the school is very disheartening," said Fred Nickles, the Atlantic County superintendent of schools.

So, for now, free time is spent either in the cafeteria, the gymnasium, or in classrooms where teachers say the changes are taking a toll on everyone.

"They're just stressed, these kids are stressed. They're acting out. It's very difficult," said Lynnette Myland, a teacher.

"It's, like, boring. You don't have nothing to do. When it's supposed to be recess time, it's work time," Barnes said.

Security is being beefed up outside the school and the district may add a layer of reinforcement to the first floor windows of the school.

"Now our kids can't even come outside because all this violence is going on. Something really needs to be done. It's really sad," said Shirley Barnes, a parent.

School district officials said that no decision about a change in the safety policy would be made until after the holiday break.

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