BY LUIS GRONDA
In an attempt to address many parents and residents concerns about school safety in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Community Education Council 24 (CEC 24) unanimously passed a resolution that would boost security at New York City Public Schools.
The resolution mandates that the Dept. of Education hire retired NYPD Police officers as “special patrolmen” to walk around public schools. According to the resolution, these patrolmen would assist the NYPD school safety agents, who are unarmed, and they would carry a concealed weapon. They would also not be involved in school disciplinary matters.
Two other parts of their recommendation call for panic buttons to be placed in classrooms. The button would be directly linked to a NYPD dispatcher in the case of an emergency. The third and final part of the resolution would see buzzer entry doors and video surveillance cameras installed at the main entrance of every school. This would allow school safety officers to screen people that are attempting to enter the building.
CEC 24 stated that these measures would improve security at public schools in New York City and provide more assurance to parents that their kids are safe.
“It’s something that could work,” said CEC 24 President Nick Comaianni. “And it’s something, when my kids are at school, that I feel a lot better on.”
Comaianni added that the DOE would hire about 1,200 of these officers, which would be enough to put one patrol officer in every school. He also estimated that it would cost about $16 to 20 million per year, which, he says, the DOE would be able to pay for.
“Which is really nothing with the $13 billion budget we have for the school system,” Comaianni said. “We’re not talking about a large amount of money to impact a school in New York City.”
But the DOE is not receptive to the resolution, saying that City schools are safer now than they have ever been before thanks to its collaboration with the NYPD and reforms to its discipline code.
“A safe learning environment for our students is one of our top priorities. As the largest school district in the country, we know what works and putting an armed guard in every school building is not the answer,” said DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg. “We are not considering the CEC’s proposal.”
Calls to Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s office asking to comment on the resolution were not returned as of press time.
Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127 or at email@example.com.