Timothy Cardinal Dolan preaches resilience as he visits victims injured in Tribeca bike path terror attack

Published in the New York Daily News on Nov. 1, 2017

Victims injured in the bike path terror attack got a special visit Wednesday from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who urged New Yorkers to focus more on the city’s recovery than the attack.

Dolan stopped by Bellevue Hospital, where bicyclists and bystanders were recovering after being mowed down by a truck driver a day before in deadly terrorist strike in lower Manhattan.

“You never ever want to lose your sense of sadness and somberness,” Dolan said on his way into the hospital.

“There needs to be shock and there is. But you know when I first got here nine years ago, the first time I went through a 9/11 ceremony, the priest where I went, St. Peters, said ‘you know what’s more important than 9/11, 9/12, the day after 9/11. New Yorkers rallied. They got out of bed, and kept at it. There always seems to be resilience. There always seems to be a let’s keep living in hope that I admire.”

Dolan said he planned to encourage the injured.

“First of all, if they’re Catholic I’m going to ask, `Would you like the sacrament?’ The sacrament of the anointing of the sick is very powerful. I’m going to see if they want holy communion. If they’re not Catholic, I’m still going to say that we love you. That all of New York is praying for you. You’re not alone. Not only are we with you, the Lord is with you.”

The cardinal said he also had a message for the alleged suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, although Dolan did not meet with him.
Sources said Saipov was celebrating the attack while recovering from a gunshot wound he suffered when he was apprehended by cops.
“I have a lot of concerns about his soul and I hope he does,” Dolan said. ” We can’t hide the anger that all of us have. And yet I have to listen to the man I follow, who also happens to be true man and true God and try to forgive. I understand he has a wife and family and my heart goes out for them, but boy oh boy that can’t soften the sense of horror and condemnation we have for what he’s done.”
Diddy speaks at a school in Harlem (Photo by Adam Schrader)

Sean (Diddy) Combs kicks off first day of new Harlem charter school he co-founded

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Published in The New York Daily News on Aug. 30, 2016

Rap mogul and would-be educator Sean (Diddy) Combs delivered a rousing speech Monday to kick off the first day of classes at a new charter school he co-founded in his old Harlem neighborhood.

Speaking from a podium onstage in the student auditorium at Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, Combs told dozens of students and staffers that their school would change the world, starting with the people right there in the room.

“Great schools and great education make a big difference,” Combs told the cheering crowd. “Unfortunately, too many people don’t get the opportunity to succeed, no matter how hard they try. This is leveling the playing field here at Capital Prep.”

Combs, 46, was born in a public housing project in Harlem and raised in Mount Vernon.

He first gained fame as founder of Bad Boy Entertainment, a record label that released music by The Notorious B.I.G. and a slew of hit artists in the 1990s.

Combs had no background in education until he started work on Capital Prep Harlem in 2014. Besides his work in music, Combs has found success in a number of ventures including his Sean Jean clothing line.

He founded the new Harlem school in partnership with Connecticut educator. Dr. Steve Perry, who previously created a successful charter school in Hartford.

Perry, who frequently appears on television and writes books and articles on education, founded Capital Preparatory Magnet School in 2005.

The Hartford school features a no-excuses approach to student discipline and extended instructional time for students. It will serve as a model for Capital Prep Harlem.

“The advantages (of having a celebrity like Combs) are clear,” Perry said. “Mr. Combs has made a significant commitment to this.”

Capital Prep Harlem admitted 176 students in sixth and seventh grades for its first year of classes. Students were chosen from a random lottery of roughly 1,000 applicants.

The charter will expand to enroll about 700 students in grades 6-12 by the year 2021, school officials said.

Traditional public schools in the city begin classes next Thursday, but New York City Charter School Center CEO James Merriman said class is already in session for roughly half of the city’s 216 charters.

“It’s this hard work and innovative spirit that makes the charter sector what it is,” Merriman said.

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker at a bullying event. (Photo by Adam Schrader)

Panel cites death of Staten Island boy when urging more support for victims of bullying; ‘The schools are not getting involved as much’

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Published in the New York Daily News on Aug. 22, 2016

A Staten Island teen who took his own life after being mercilessly bullied should have received unconditional support from his school, experts said Monday at the first ever conference sponsored by the New York Jets and the organization Stomp Out Bullying.

The suicide of 13-year-old Daniel Fitzpatrick was on the minds of educators and panelists at the conference at the Jets’ Florham Park, N.J., training camp as they shared ways to prevent and detect bullying while supporting victims.

“If a child is coming to you and they’re hurt and they feel like something is wrong, the best thing is listening and being there and being able to engage with that child,” said Alexander Levy, 17, a teen ambassador for Stomp Out Bullying.

Levy said schools should not doubt students in pain or ask for proof of bullying.

Experts have said bullying is pervasive, from Daniel’s heartbreaking death to Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s mockery of disabled and women journalists.

Even Olympic superstar gymnast Gabby Douglas was the victim of vicious cyberbullying because she didn’t hold her hand over her heart for the National Anthem during the games in Rio.

“When kids see this, they’re picking up the behavior from the adults in their lives and the trolls online,” said Ross Ellis, who started Stomp Out Bullying to raise awareness and education.

Ellis said she has met with Marvel Comics, which is planning anti-bullying-themed issues with superheroes.

Celebrity psychologist Jeff Gardere was reluctant to draw conclusions about Daniel’s tragic case. But he said it’s important to note the teen didn’t feel supported by staffers at Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Brooklyn.

“We do know that has been an ongoing complaint by many of our students,” said Gardere, who appeared on VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.” “The schools are not getting involved as much.”

Nick De Mauro, a former police officer who oversees drug abuse education programs, said many teachers and administrators are slow to act on bullying complaints because they fear lawsuits.

“Unfortunately, we live in a society where everyone wants to sue everybody,” he said. “They’ve put a burden on teachers and administrators and really forced their hand to require proof and it’s become problematic.”

The panelists also stressed the importance of counseling, compassion and empathy for individuals who are bullying, since they may have serious problems.

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker made a surprise appearance to show his support. Decker was a student at Rocori High School in Minnesota, where two students were shot in 2003. The shooter, another student, said he had been bullied.

“It could get a lot worse if it wasn’t for you guys,” Decker told the crowd, urging parents to also educate their children about bullying.