NEW YORK (PIX11) — As New York City kids get ready to head back to the classroom Thursday, city officials have prioritized students’ safety by hiring more school safety agents and preparing staff with active shooter drills.
More than 200 school safety agents will be greeting parents and children on the first day of school and hundreds more are expected to begin training throughout the year, according to the Department of Education. About 150 agents will start training this month and 250 in January of next year.
During the summer, school and building staff, including principals, assistant principals, and early childhood providers, went through active shooter training drills in coordination with the NYPD School Safety Division, officials said. Every building has a dedicated emergency response team, according to a DOE spokeswoman.
Also, more than 1,400 buildings were checked for working door locks, alarms, panic buttons, and operable public announcing systems. Approximately 1,300 faulty issues were found and are being fixed, the DOE said.
“Our families’ biggest concerns should be on the studies of their children, which is why we are doubling down on this work to take concerns about safety out of the equation,” Schools Chancellor David C. Banks said.
Parents with kids in grades K-12 are more concerned about school shootings than bullying and COVID-19, according to Qualtrics’ 2022 Back-to-School Study released in August. They also want schools to hire more security guards, do more safety drills with students and improve COVID safety protocols.
Only 31% of parents feel their kids are “very safe” in school. Nearly half of the 1,100 people surveyed said they have transferred their kids to other schools or are considering it, according to the research.
“Dangerous weapons of any kind have absolutely no place in our communities, and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all of our students and staff is at the core of all we do,” a DOE spokeswoman previously told PIX11. “Every one of our schools is staffed with NYPD’s dedicated School Safety Agents, who work every day to keep our children safe…we have robust systems in place to support students’ mental health and wellbeing, including approximately 5,000 social workers and guidance counselors who work with students and families to offer support and address any and all concerns.”