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NYC officials outline school safety strategies ahead of back to school | #schoolsaftey


The Adams administration outlined strategies Friday to keep school students safe when classes resume next week, from expanding signature programs to getting ahead of conflicts that could erupt into violence.

A string of tragic — and sometimes deadly — incidents last year involved school-aged children, prompting Schools Chancellor David Banks to convene local organizations and city employees to brainstorm preventative measures and other means of keeping students protected from harm.

“We’re not trying to militarize our schools, and we’re not doing that,” Banks said during a briefing at City Hall on Friday. “We’re not trying to over-police our schools, and we’re not doing that.”

“But what we are doing, at the behest of our mayor, was to enhance a level of communication,” he said.

Vowing that “technology is key for everything we do,” Police Commissioner Edward Caban said the NYPD is “working to create” a tip-line that the public can call into with “information that we should be aware of regarding schools and the kids.”

Caban did not share many more details about how that tip-line will work, but said it should be “up and running this fall.”

Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks’ public safety briefing with DOE Chancellor David Banks and New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Edward Caban. City Hall. Friday, September 1, 2023. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

The tip-line could allow for chances to intervene before situations get out of hand, as students reacclimate to being with one another after an extended period away from school during the pandemic.

Banks, the chancellor, said the administration is bringing together borough commanders and school district superintendents this year, after a similar initiative was rolled out last term between principals and precinct commanders, who discuss local public safety issues each week on Zoom.

Banks noted that every commanding officer in the city has between 25 and 35 schools in their command precincts.

Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks’ public safety briefing with DOE Chancellor David Banks and New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Edward Caban. City Hall. Friday, September 1, 2023. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

“Those folks want to be talking to each other,” Banks said. “The principals, when they are seeing things that are happening in their schools, they’re seeing other kids come to their school trying to create problems after school, who will they alert, so we can alert the commanding officer at the precinct, give them the heads up and they can help to connect those dots.”

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The idea for the weekly discussions stemmed from a Zoom call Mayor Adams convened last semester, attended by all commanding NYPD officers and every principal in the New York City public school system, Banks said.

“We’re enhancing a deeper level of communication,” he said.

Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks’ public safety briefing with DOE Chancellor David Banks and New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Edward Caban. City Hall. Friday, September 1, 2023. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

The Adams administration is also continuing to roll out previously announced initiatives, from growing the numbers of school safety agents and schools participating in his signature anti-violence program, to new door-locking technology.

After the number of officers in local schools dwindled by roughly 2,000 agents during the pandemic, Banks said the city is closing that gap. There are currently 4,100 school safety agents on payroll, or about 8 in 10 officers as there were beforehand — with another 250 going into the next class in October.

“We continue to boost the ranks,” he said.

Apart from officers, the city is also putting more violence interrupters in schools and safety personnel stationed between buildings and subways through Project Pivot. This year, 250 schools will participate, compared to 144 schools at the end of last year, Banks said.

The new door-locking system, which allows schools to secure their front entrances and see who is trying to get inside the building before letting them through, is being installed across the five boroughs. Banks estimated that 744 elementary schools will have access to the new technology this school year.



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