NYPD cracks down on truancy after teen drowns while skipping school at Rockaway Beach

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Tim Fleischer has the story. (Fern Lim)

Students skipping class to head to the beach Thursday instead found themselves face-to-face with police, as part of a crackdown on truancy.

It was happening just a day after a teenager died after being pulled from the ocean.

For the second day, buses coming across the bridge into Broad Channel were being stopped at a checkpoint.

Police officers and school safety officers boarded buses looking for students skipping classes.

A group of five teenagers, who police say attend Forest Hills High School but were clearly dressed for the beach, were escorted from a Q53 bus.

This ramped up truancy crackdown comes after firefighters rushed into the surf to save 19-year-old Rudra Gurung who police say skipped classes at Newtown High School on the first 90-degree day.

Despite efforts to save him, he died after being pulled from the water.

Somehow, police believe the teen and his friends slipped through a checkpoint Wednesday.

From another Q53 bus, police escorted four more teenage students who officers say should have been in school.

The teens were searched and questioned about where they attend classes and why they left.

For the young ladies, there's a suggestion from a school safety officer.

"Take some college courses, ok? That will really enhance what you to do later in life," the officer said.

They were placed in a waiting van and taken back to their schools.

During a two-hour period, Eyewitness News watched as nine students were returned to classes.

Back in Rockaway Beach, the crackdown is viewed favorably.

"They should. I think that's great. The parents are working. Hopefully they will consider it. They're minor kids, I think that's a good idea," said Adriana Vargas, a parent.

"Safety first all the time, and if you are supposed to be in school, you should be in school and you should not come to the beach," said Dawn Kelly, a parent.

Related Topics:
newswater rescuequeens newsbeachesRockaway BeachNew York City
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