NEW YORK (PIX11) — Over five years since the Parkland, Florida massacre, NYPD Inspector Kevin Taylor recently visited the still bloodied site of the classroom killings.
In February 2018, a gunman murdered 17 high schoolers.
This school year, New York City’s top school cop is using firsthand lessons learned to oversee a myriad of safety changes.
“We feel good about the comprehensive plan in place to ensure the protection of NYC’s most precious gifts, our children,” said NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban.
Among the chief changes: an ability to text tips to an anonymous hotline, the creation of a school safety command center, a laser focus on 250 at-risk schools, and a $78 million investment in technology.
“We’re launching our door-locking system and so starting this school year includes Phase 1,” Caban said.
For the first time on Thursday, 744 elementary schools will lock the front door using a camera system. School safety advocate Mona Davids got an early look.
“Now public schools, as private schools, have a security system in place to monitor who comes in and who comes out,” Davids explained.
PS28Q in Corona immediately got the system after a mentally unwell 19-year-old walked in last September. A safety agent and the principal were hailed as heroes for tackling him as he attempted to enter a first-grade classroom area.
“We want to prevent that from happening in the first place,” said Banks.
The remaining elementary schools will be equipped with the cameras by springtime, followed by middle and high schools, according to the DOE.
“My hope is within the next year and a half, all schools will have this system,” Davids said.
Chancellor Banks said in the meantime, they are adding to the ranks of unarmed school safety agents, who have been fitted for ballistic vests.