Parents of students who attend M.S. 158’s Beacon program told Community Board 11 members Monday that they were fighting to prevent it from being cut this year.
Also at the board’s monthly meeting, the mother of a Bayside Muslim who had falsely been accused of being a terrorist after his remains were found at the World Trade Center site called on CB 11 to rename a street in her son’s memory.
Kim D’Angelo, who is a member of M.S. 158’s Beacon advisory committee, said the program had been scheduled for cancellation last year, but the City Council came to its rescue at the last minute with funding.
“This year, we’re back in the same boat,” she said. “This is vital for the sake of our children, the piece of mind of our parents and the well being of our community.”
She said the program, which runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., was primarily used as after school care, where students can get homework help, practice visual arts and receive computer training.
“We should not have to go through this on an annual basis,” said Jerry Iannece, chairman of CB 11. “It’s the only Beacon program in the area.”
During the public participation of the meeting, Bayside’s Talat Hamdani proposed renaming a portion of 204th Street at 35th Avenue after her son, Mohammad Salman Hamdani, who died during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Hamdani, an emergency medical technician and police cadet, died after having rushed into the World Trade Center to assist in the rescue effort.
But Hamdani, who was born in Pakistan, was falsely identified as a terrorist after his remains were discovered at Ground Zero.
His mother said the NYPD refused to rename a street in his honor as they did for other 9/11 first responders, but also did not list him as a casualty of the terrorist attacks on the department’s official list.
“He was a kind, compassionate and patriotic American,” Talat Hamdani said. “On 9/11, he responded to the call and made a great sacrifice. Instead of standing by our loss, the NYPD has turned its back on him due to his faith as a Muslim. They deprived him of his place in history.”
Capt. Jason Huerta, of the 111th Precinct, told CB 11 members that crime had dropped in the new year following a spike in December.
“Last year, we struggled a bit,” he said. “We’re experiencing a slight increase in robberies, but we’ve made progress in a few of those cases. We’re down 10 percent for the year so far.”