The Assembly Minority Conference today released its final report from its Task Force on School Safety & Security. Assembly members, led by Task Force Chairmen Joseph M. Giglio (R,C-Gowanda), Doug Smith (R,C-Holbrook) and Mike Reilly (R,C-Staten Island), held roundtable discussions across the state to address concerns over acts of violence and help develop effective safety measures for students and educators.
“Discussions on school safety are among the most important we can have, and I want to commend the task force chairs as well as all those who participated and took time to share their views,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C-Pulaski) said. “Across the country, we’ve seen unimaginable tragedy strike young people, schools and communities through acts of senseless violence. Protecting our school children and teachers is a responsibility that must be taken seriously. This report outlines a number of steps that can achieve those goals, and I hope our colleagues in government join us in these critical conversations and take immediate action.”
“The increased acts of aggression and violence in our schools are senseless and gut-wrenching, and we must work diligently to prevent further tragedy. Working together with parents, school personnel and law enforcement officials to craft meaningful and actionable steps was critical to provide solutions which best protect our students and secure our school grounds. This report is the result of invaluable insight and experience shared by these key stakeholders from across the state. Now, it is imperative that the conversation in Albany begins in earnest to achieve the necessary actionable steps to address violence in our schools,” said Assemblyman Giglio.
“As a former educator, the safety and security of our schools remains an issue close to my heart. A safe environment for students and educators is paramount as we consider the charge of providing a quality education for our children. The feedback and expertise gathered from key stakeholders during the forums were the cornerstone for the development of the numerous solutions outlined in our report. These legislative recommendations will seek to improve the safety of students and personnel on school grounds,” said Assemblyman Smith.
“We are witnessing an alarming increase in violence targeting our youth across the nation and in New York.Many of these acts occur at school, which, only second from home, should be the safest place for our children to be,” said Assemblyman Reilly.“As a parent, I truly do sympathize with those who’ve grown anxious over the safety of their children at school, which is why I believe that, now more than ever, this Legislature has a responsibility to act.Our task force, which received testimony from dozens of stakeholders, including parents and law enforcement officials, is proposing a comprehensive set of policies that establish a safer school environment without jeopardizing a supportive school environment.I call on my colleagues across the aisle to consider these recommendations, not for me, but for the children.”
Among some of the topics and recommendations included in the report are:
- Increasing Law Enforcement Presence in Schools
- Addressing Mental Health in Schools
- Open Communication Between Stakeholders
- Expanding State Support for School Safety and Security
- Identifying Threats and Providing Support to At-Risk Students
- Investing in School Infrastructure
The task force hosted five regional forums focused on legislative solutions to ensure the safety of students and school personnel. Discussions attempted to examine methods to increase the security presence on school grounds, as well as efforts to establish greater access to mental health services for students. Parents, teachers, administrators, mental-health professionals and law enforcement professionals were among those who participated in the forums. Information shared by forum attendees helped shape the development of the final report, which offers a series of legislative proposals to improve the level of school safety in New York state.