Trouble at school for troubled kids prompts call for closure

Posted: Updated:
HAWTHORNE -

Residents sharing their community with a Hawthorne school for troubled kids say they want it closed after two incidents led to the arrests of five students.

Five students have been arrested in connection with off-campus incidents. In one, a runaway student allegedly broke into a house, armed with a box cutter, and threatened the homeowner.

"I more than understand some of the residents are upset," says Mark Silverstein, the superintendent of Hawthorne Cedar Knolls. "We take accountability very seriously, but the students have rights too. We have no desire to restrain children, and we're not allowed to restrain children."

The school serves hundreds of emotionally troubled and at-risk students from kindergarten through 12th grade. About half of them live on campus. Some of those are wards of the state who have nowhere else to go.

They often face neurological impairments or social and emotional issues, officials say, and attempt to cope by acting out.

"One or two incidents in the school does not make a total measure of what we do," Silverstein explains. "What we do here doesn't happen overnight."

Nevertheless, critics are calling for the state to review the school's operations.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."