New schools chancellor of NYC Richard Carranza sat down with PIX11's Jennifer Bisram on Friday. He has been on the job for about three weeks. But while he’s still learning the school system and visiting classrooms in all the boroughs, he said he is confident students are safe in NYC public schools.
“I’ve seen some really good instruction, good practice and teachers are not just standing, they’re interacting with students and facilitating learning," he told PIX11, after meeting with teachers and students at P.S.69 in the Bronx. "As a parent, you send your child to school, you expect that child to be safe, and I can tell parents in NYC, your child is safe."
He credits the NYPD.
"We work very closely with NYPD, they are consistently working with us to make sure we are as prepared as we can be against any potential threat,” he said.
After his visit, he talked about the tragic 1999 Columbine school shooting, where two teens killed 13 people before taking their own lives.
"I remember where I was 19 years ago. I was a classroom teacher, when the news was breaking, we had the ability to have TVs and watch what was happening in real time. It changed public education in America in a very definitive way," Carranza said.
On the anniversary of the Columbine shooting, teachers and students at Columbine High took part in community service in an effort to turn the day into something meaningful and thousands of students across the country took part in walkouts to protest gun violence.
"I’m just really proud of this generation of students raising their voices," Carranza said.
But the schools chancellor, who comes from Houston and has been in education for nearly 30-years, was adamant that students belong in schools and not out of the streets.
"I think on today's date the safest place to be is in the schools - there are plenty of opportunity in schools for them to engage in these conversations to make their feelings heard. The most effective security system in any school is you have an environment where students feel safe, they feel secure that if the see something - even on social media, they say something," he said.
The schools chancellor also said he is committed to making city schools safe, fun, interactive and more manageable for teachers and students.
He plans being a hands-on chancellor, who visits schools often.