NY education head meets with Hempstead students

The new state education commissioner got an earful Tuesday from students at Hempstead High School.

In August, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia told News 12 that she wanted to see Hempstead's plans to improve its schools. She sat down with students Tuesday to discuss ways to make the high school experience better.

Most Hempstead students do not have bus transportation to school. Junior Joshua Argueta says that can be stressful.

"It's hard for me to get to school because sometimes my mom can't drive me and I have to look for a ride," says Argueta.

Senior class president Joselyn Alvarez says there is a mentality at the school that prevents some students from planning for their future. Elia told the students that instilling that hope is an important part of her job.

"My focus is on what's good for kids. And making sure that we are across the board in all schools across the state. That we are focused on what we can do to support children," says Elia.

Other students also talked to the commissioner about a need for better security, more course options, a less crowded cafeteria and improving relations between students from different cultures.

Superintendent Susan Johnson refused to comment on camera to News 12 about the commissioner's meeting. She did release a statement saying that she will continue fighting for students in the district.

Many parents have called on Johnson to step down and have the state run the school district after the state Education Department identified Hempstead High School as "persistently struggling."

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