Are NYC Students Safe in The Subway?


Salma Taiae

During the coronavirus pandemic, there was an increase in the percentage of homeless people all over America. Though it wasn’t the main focus at the time, shelters shut down and homeless people were forced out on the streets. Eventually the streets got too cold and homeless people were forced to run into the shelter and warmth of the subway stations. 

After the pandemic, students and teachers returned to schools with social distancing and mask mandates and felt unsure and unsafe at school with new outbreaks and uncertainties. While most parents, teachers, students, and reporters were more concerned with COVID updates and the next step for schools; they were less bothered or concerned with the newly added rate of homeless people and the dangers that could bring for children/students and daily subway passengers. Though COVID may have been a bigger concern and safety issue, the subway safety was also a hazardous topic and should have been discussed more. Students, teachers and parents, are starting to notice the issues on their daily work commutes. 

One teacher at Liberty High School Academy For Newcomers, Mrs. Taiae says that she felt  “stressed, cautious, and fearful due to news stories constantly informing about homeless and crazy people on the subway attacking the passengers.” She even claimed to have seen examples of these attacks upclose on her way to work. She also said that “the smells bring sickness and the filth and uncleanliness bring me deep disgust and caution of touching anything or sitting anywhere to avoid the possibility of disease.” 

Though not many people enjoy or feel safe in the subway, some have no other choice such as a retired NYU employee, now a stay at home father Ahmed Taiae, who feels that “The subways are the most efficient way to travel, and never have traffic, also not as expensive as other transportation forms.” When asked about the safety of his daughter, said “Even grown ups aren’t safe in subways. I am always anxious and weary in subways. If there are any other ways for my child to get to school quickly, I would go with those other ways to assure safety for my child and less possibility of harm through the subway.” 

One of the students at Liberty High School Academy For Newcomers, also felt this way; her name is Adrianna Quezada and she thought that “subways are filthy, and very dangerous” she said  “I feel anxious and nervous and I am always holding onto my things in fear of people around me.” In fact many people are just as anxious on the subway with the uncleanliness, crowdiness, diversity (uncertainty of mixed groups of people each with different mindset) and constantly increasing fare cost.

Though there are many mentally unstable people in the group of homeless people in the subway, not all of them attack people or cause filth or disease in subways; there are a variety of homeless people that put up signs, entertain for spare change, and even sell things.