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New York schools to step up safety protocols for new school year

The New York City Department of Education is stepping up safety protocols for the new school year, The Post has learned.

The new measures range from new technologies and prototypes to increased school security personnel – and come after violence in the Big Apple quarantined schools in the spring.

“We’ve come across a three-digit number of vendors around different safety enhancements and apps that they recommend we use to make our schools safer,” Mark Rampersant, director of safety at the DOE, told parents. this week.

Rampersant, at the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council, has introduced an internal app for real-time emergency notifications between principals and parents.

“We’ve heard from parents talking about notification and how soon you get notified by your schools when something like a lockdown, shelter-in-place or evacuation happens,” he said. “We heard you when you said directors need to do a better job of reporting.”

The app also allows Schools Chancellor David Banks to contact families and can be used for weather emergencies like snow days.

The DOE is also showing a prototype that allows public schools to lock their front doors, while allowing first responders access to the building in an emergency.

City officials began to seriously consider locking down the main entrances after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 students and two teachers this spring.

“We think we have a prototype that we’re introducing to our schools as we write new policy about what it actually looks like to lock front doors,” Rampersant said.

The DOE is also investing in staff, including $9 million in federal stimulus funds to put voluntary violence interrupters from local nonprofits on the city’s payroll.

“We thought it was appropriate, why not employ these people and bring them into our schools to help us keep our students, staff and visitors safe?” said Rampersant.

NYC officials began to seriously consider locking down main entrances after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Steve White for the New York Post

Meanwhile, a second class of school safety officers under the Adams administration will graduate later this month, adding 200 staff in time for reopening. After that, another 250 will go to the academy for 17 weeks of training, he said.

Greg Floyd, the president of Teamsters Local 237, which represents the city’s school safety officers, estimated the current class is closer to 175 officers — and does little to add more hands on deck to system wide.

“I’m sure about 175 people have retired since the end of the school year,” said Floyd, who receives reports from retirees about a 2-3 month delay. “You go through the math with people who don’t know the math – and it’s nice that you have another class – but you don’t say how many people have retired.”

Floyd estimated there was still a shortage of 2,000 officers, compared to pre-pandemic workforce numbers and the scale of the police funding movement.

He added that all officers must undergo active shooter training following the mass school shooting in Texas.

“It’s new,” Floyd said. “But what they really need is help now – not for an active shooter. They need help with day-to-day gun prevention.

Thousands of weapons were recovered from public schools last year, which Banks attributed to students’ concerns about their safety on the way to and from school buildings.

Floyd also questioned the timing of the announcements and not yet looped into school security guards, with the first day of school just around the corner.

“All I hear is ‘we examine’, ‘we examine’. But I don’t see the results of ‘watching’, and school will start,” he said.

The Department of Education will soon have more to share, officials said, adding that schools and families will be the first to know about the new protocols.


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