Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Help Me Howard: Rock My School
Here is one for you. Rocks are hitting your roof, your wall, your pool, and the rocks are coming from kids at a school next door. The homeowners can't stop it. The school can't stop it, so what can you do? That's the question one man is asking Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Highland Oaks is the kind of school parents like, and a school where kids do well at reading, writing, arithmetic and rock throwing.
Abraham Shwartzbach: "Yeah, good arms because sometimes it reaches up on the roof and fills up the gutter."
Abraham's house sits next to the playground. When he moved in two years ago he thought living next to a school would be good. He was wrong.
Abraham Shwartzbach: "The kids, they come back here, they throw rocks and it damages my screen over my pool."
While Abraham sits in his office, he occasionally hears the rocks bouncing off his walls and his roof.
Abraham Shwartzbach: "Anytime during the day, from the minute school starts, until the end."
Climb up a ladder, and you see the roof is filled with rocks. The screen over his pool speckled with them, the screen that is still intact, of course.
Abraham Shwartzbach: "It's from the weight of the rocks. Rock after rock after rock puts a lot of pressure on the screen, and then it gives in."
Abraham complained, and the school put up a black screen to block the rock throwers. No problem. They threw higher, so he complained some more.
Abraham Shwartzbach: "I have spoken with the principal. I have spoken with higher ups in the school district. 'Yes, yes we will take care of it.' It stops for a week or two, and then it continues again."
The irritation is one thing. The damaged screen another, but what really troubles Abraham is the thought of one of those rocks hitting his little girl.
Abraham Shwartzbach: "It's out of control. It's completely out of control."
Abraham says he has put up with the rock throwers for two years, and it's time to stop.
Abraham Shwartzbach: "In addition to that, I would like for them to pay for the damages as well, and I don't know where to begin."
Well, Howard, who it responsible? The kids, their parents or the school?
Howard Finkelstein: "The kid is responsible and can be charged with throwing a deadly missile. The parents could be responsible for any damage, and the school district is also responsible for any damage because they were put on notice that there was rock throwing, and they did not stop it."
When I spoke to the school district, they told me Highland Oaks had a very good principal, and she was doing everything she could to stop the rock throwing. P.E. teachers have been told to keep an eye on it and end it. In addition, the district has submitted a proposal to their insurance company to repair Abraham's damaged screen, and, Howard says, if the schools can't stop the rock throwers, Abraham should call the police.
Howard Finkelstein: "If the kids won't listen to their teachers, and the school can't stop them, maybe the fear of being arrested might stop the kids before they hit a person in a backyard and cause serious injuries."
Maybe the threat of being arrested will stop the kids. Maybe they will find another way to have fun. Although two years of being pelted has convinced Abraham these kids are not just wanting to have fun.
Abraham Shwartzbach: "I have no idea what their goal is. I guess their goal is to destroy."
Now, you may be thinking, why not just go in and pick up all the rocks? It's South Florida, if you do, it will rain and expose a few more rocks. In other words, it's impossible. Bottom line, someone has to convince the kids at Highland Oaks throwing rocks at a yard with people in it is not a good extracurricular activity.
Sticks and stones breaking your bones? Need some words to save you? Toss things into our backyard. We'll try to school someone on the law.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD: