Fire alarm streak disrupts JFK campus
By Maya Rajamani
A series of false fire alarms forced the roughly 3,000 students on the John F. Kennedy campus to evacuate the building almost every weekday over a stretch of nine days in March.
Educators said false fire alarms happened seven times between March 17 and 27.
The evacuations have sparked fights both in and outside JFK’s building, which houses eight different schools, as students exit and wait out the evacuations.
“There’s a lot of fights and drama. It’s like a UFC match out here,” said Marble Hill High School sophomore Jonathan Jacobs, referring to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
John F. Kennedy High School Principal Lisa Luft confirmed the series of false fire alarms.
“There were fire alarms that were pulled within the last two weeks and we are addressing the issue collaboratively with all the schools, the administration and their faculty,” she said. “We put in procedures, and there have been none pulled this week.”
The firehouses on Riverdale and Bailey avenues as well as the FDNY’s central press office declined to comment.
Several students on the campus confirmed that the majority of the fire alarms are being pulled toward the end of the school day, possibly as a means of getting out early.
But a number of students believe that some of the alarms are directly related to the fights happening outside the school.
“They want to go home; they pull it for attention; they want fights to happen,” said Mariah Negron, a sophomore at the campus’ New Visions Charter School for Advanced Math and Science.
“Every time the alarm is pulled, there is always a fight,” said Bronx Theater junior Julainey Almansa.
Students said the number of security officers outside the school during evacuations is insufficient to deal with the fights that break out.
“We barely see the security,” said Mariah. “It’s just our teachers, but our teachers can’t watch everybody.”
KeywordsJohn F. Kennedy High School, JFK, fire alarms, fire, FDNY, Marble Hill High School, Lisa Luft, New Visions Charter School, Bronx Theater, fighting, Maya Rajamani