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Police try to keep 'skip day' safer for Coxsackie seniors

June 09, 2017 11:24 PM

COXSACKIE – Some community members are crying foul after video posted online of the Coxsackie-Athens senior skip day showed students hanging out of cars while being escorted by police. The police chief tells NewsChannel 13 that this is an old tradition for high school seniors at the school, and that police are just trying to make it safer.

It’s part of a senior year tradition at Coxsackie-Athens High School. Seniors parade their cars in front of the school, some students sitting on roofs or standing in the back of truck beds. It’s been going on the past few decades, but this was the first year that police escorted the parade, which drew the ire of some community members.

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“When the kids do this sort of thing, you hear from the community, “Where were the police?” And now that we’re involved, you hear, “What are the police doing?” And so it’s kind of a catch-22,” said Coxsackie Police Chief Samuel Mento.

Police defended their actions, saying officers were observing to keep the kids safe. “The reason for the police car in front was a way to manage the speed of the vehicles, which was about five miles per hour,” said Mento. “Whereas previously kids would be doing 30 to 40 miles per hour through the village.”

Students we spoke with say they were happy the police were there, keeping a balance between safety and tradition. “The police were very, very responsible as was the administration of the school warning kids to make sure they’re keeping in mind that they have passengers in car, sometimes dangling out the windows, but no, it was safe,” said Jonathan Baxter, a senior at Coxsackie-Athens High School.

People we spoke with in Coxsackie say they were happier with the senior drive-by being observed by police, rather than kids just tearing through town. “Kids are reckless, they're going to be doing crazy things anyways, but why not have supervision and make sure things go smoothly,” said Lacie Hotaling of Greenville.

“The whole thing is definitely a little unsafe, but I think it is better to be regulated because there's no other traffic going on,” said Dionna Taccetta, who graduated from Coxsackie-Athens last year.

It is important to note that riding in the back of a pickup truck is not illegal in New York State, as long as that ride is less than five miles.

Chief Mento says he’ll be meeting with the mayor and the school district on ways to make the event even safer next year.

Credits

Ben Amey

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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