Back to school: 1.1 million NYC students return to class

School hallway with rows of lockers

NEW YORK — Over 1 million New York City students headed back to class Wednesday morning and even though it’s the first day of school for students, educators and city leaders have been working all summer on some of the biggest issues shaping their days in the classroom, including safety.

Chancellor Richard Carranza told PIX11 that parents are driving this conversation.

“We don’t want our schools to look like prison. Parents want to be sure that there are safety plans and safety measures in place, but they said they don’t want to walk into a prison,” Carranza said.

Rather than having more metal detectors in schools, Carranza advocates for more conversations between students, teachers and safety officers.

The mayor has signed a measure turning on 140 speed cameras around school zones, in an effort to protect children and all New Yorkers walking the city streets.

The speed cameras have been proven lifesavers, with crash-related deaths dropping 55 percent in areas where the cameras have been installed.

When it comes to learning, more racially diverse classrooms at high-performing schools is the goal for many local officials. The pilot program will begin with about 25 percent of seats to be prioritized for low-income New Yorkers with low academic performance.