CEC 31 Resolution follows this letter
In light of the recent events in Newtown, the parents who sit on CEC 31 are as concerned as everyone about school safety. There is a lot of talk in the media about “guns in schools”, and mistakenly many of the reports say that CEC 31 is proposing placing armed guards in schools.
After mulling over different options, we have come up with a few ideas that we think deserve to be discussed and considered by the NYC Department of Education and have put those suggestions into a resolution.
Our proposals are not about placing guns in schools, they are about the safety of everyone inside our school buildings. We think that our schools should have security cameras and a buzz-in system so that no one can just walk into a school without being approved by a safety agent. We think that retired police officers could be assigned to schools so that a trained law enforcement officer can protect our children and school staff. The entire City of New York depends on our police force every day and rightly so, since it is among the best in the nation.
Some of our proposals are already included in the DoE's Building Response Team (BRT) plan which has still not been fully implemented after 3 years: (http://schools.nyc.gov/docume...).
The DoE BRT plan includes:
BRTs will usually consist of 5 members who are school employees chosen by the principal.
BRT members are trained to collect and provide accurate information on an incident but BRT members are NOT first responders.
Integration of technology including weather notification systems, Entry Identification Systems, Video Surveillance Systems (IPDVS), Communication Systems
Creation of a Communications Control/ Emergency Information Center (CCC/ EIC)
BRT plan system wide roll-out in schools - September 2009
Unfortunately, DoE has not lived up to their written commitments in the BRT plan. Where are the “entry identification systems” and the “video surveillance systems” promised for our school buildings? What could possibly be wrong with including parents in the conversation about protecting our schools? When anyone tries to enter DoE headquarters at Tweed, they must pass armed officers and magnetometers - visitors must pass through enhanced security to get into any city-owned buildings – why not school buildings?
So far, the Mayor and the Chancellor are not having this conversation with parents. In fact, the following statement was given to WABC News regarding our CEC 31 proposed resolution:
Ø “CECs don’t have any statutory duties regarding school safety and we are not considering their proposal.” – Statement by NYC Department of Education
Parents, ask your children the difference between a “hard lockdown” and a “soft lockdown”. You may be surprised that they already know under the DoE General Response Protocol (GRP) students are learning (http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdo...). Our children are being taught to hide under school desks or in classroom closets if there is a threat at their school. They are being taught how to get out of “line of sight”. What is less traumatic, teaching a 7-year old child what “line of sight” means and then telling them to hide in a closet – or for the child to pass by someone in their school who is dressed like a teacher and happens to be a retired police officer?
Some of our proposals are similar to a federal program established 13 years ago, after the tragedy at Columbine H.S., called “COPS In Schools”: http://articles.latimes.com/2.... Under that plan, former President Clinton unveiled $60 million in funding for a Justice Department program to help pay the costs of placing police officers in schools to make them safer for students and teachers.
Ø "Already, “COPS In Schools” has placed 2,200 officers in more than 1,000 communities across our nation, where they are heightening school safety as well as coaching sports and acting as mentors and mediators for kids in need," Clinton said in April, 2000.
Our CEC resolution is not about adding guns to schools; it is about common-sense safety measures that will make our schools safer – like panic buttons and camera/buzzer systems – which we believe are important.
We are doing this because we know everyone benefits from enhanced security in schools. As parents, we should be a part of the conversation about school safety.
Community Education Council 31 will be introducing and discussing the following safety & security Resolution/Plan @ our next meeting January 7 - 6:30 pm @ Petrides Complex, 715 Ocean Terrace, Building A - Room 118A, Staten Island, NY 10301
Resolution #76 - CEC 31 RECOMMENDS INSTALLATION OF “BUZZER” ENTRY SYSTEMS WITH VIDEO AND “PANIC BUTTONS” AT MAIN ENTRANCES TO NYC PUBLIC SCHOOL BUILDINGS AND IMPLEMENT THE USE OF RETIRED NYPD POLICE OFFICERS TO SUPPLEMENT SCHOOL SECURITY PERSONNEL
WHEREAS, recent concerns have been raised by Council members, parents, teachers, students, law enforcement personnel, education officials and advocates regarding security in NYC public schools; and
WHEREAS, current public school security consists of unarmed, uniformed New York Police Department (NYPD) school safety agents, with most NYC elementary schools having only one (1) school safety agent assigned; and
Whereas, current public school entry procedures allow individuals to enter school buildings through an unlocked door at the main entrance, with the first point of visitor verification at the security desk - located beyond the entrance, inside the school building - where visitors are required to show identification; and
Whereas, Community Education Council 31 (CEC 31) believes that school safety agents should have the opportunity to view a person requesting entry before the visitor gains access to any part of the building; and
WHEREAS, CEC 31 believes a “buzzer” entry system with video camera, video capture for future recognition and “panic buttons” directly linked to NYPD dispatchers would offer an additional layer of security for our schools and provide valuable lead-time to alert emergency personnel of a potential critical incident; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that CEC 31 requests that the Department of Education (DOE) install “buzzer” entry systems with video camera, video capture and “panic buttons” in NYC public school buildings; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CEC 31 requests the NYPD and the DOE to evaluate and implement the following proposal designating retired NYPD police officers as “special patrolmen” to supplement current security personnel in NYC public schools.
A Proposal for the NYPD and DOE to Enhance Security in NYC Public School Buildings
Recent events have raised concerns about security in schools throughout the nation. Several school districts across the country have implemented the use of armed security guards to minimize the threat of potential shootings in schools.
CEC 31’s proposal would allow the NYC Department of Education the ability to hire retired NYC police officers as armed “special patrolmen”. These “special patrolmen” will specifically be assigned to enhance school security against potentially violent and armed threats and will NOT be involved in routine school disciplinary matters. These special patrolmen will have peace officer status.
The New York City Police Commissioner has the authority to designate qualified individuals as “Special Patrolmen” under the New York City Administrative Code, Section 14-106 (e) which states that “the NYC Police Commissioner under the application by any agency or public authority may appoint special patrolman for duty performed anywhere in the city for the agency or public authority.”
This initiative will require hiring approximately 300 – 500 retired NYC police officers, who are licensed to carry concealed firearms. The NYC Department of Education will grant, in writing, authorization for these special patrolmen to carry concealed firearms on school property. These retired officers will fall under the direct supervision of the NYPD School Safety Division. The retired police officers will be assigned on a rotating basis to schools throughout New York City. (The program could be expanded to assign a “special patrolman” to every NYC public school building – approximately 1,000 school buildings.)
Suggested Rules and Regulations for the Program:
Administrative Code section 14-106 mandates that the special patrolmen MUST comply with the orders of the NYPD Commissioner and the rules of the New York City Police Department.
The NYC Department of Education will pay the special patrolmen as an independent contract employee via a 1099. This payment system is similar to the Off-Duty Employment Program that currently exists for active NYPD members.
Retired NYC police officers assigned as special patrolmen to the Department of Education will be required to file a 211 or 212 pension waiver, if necessary.