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 technology to more school security staff – and come after the Big Apple’s violence locked schools in the spring.
“We’ve met with a triple-digit number of vendors around various safety enhancements and applications that they are recommending for us to strengthen our security in our schools,” Mark Rampersant, director of safety at the DOE, told parents this week.
Rampersant presented an internal application for real-time emergency notifications between school leaders and parents at the Chancellor’s Parents’ Council.
“We’ve heard from parents about the notification and the time frame that you will be notified by your schools if something like a lockdown, shelter in place or evacuation happens,” he said. “We heard you say that principals need to do a better job of notifying.”
The application also allows School Chancellor David Banks to contact families and can be used for weather emergencies such as snow days.
The DOE is also introducing a prototype to allow public schools to lock their front doors while allowing first responders access to the building in the event of an emergency.
City officials began seriously considering barricading main entrances after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas this spring that killed 19 students and two teachers.
“We think we’ll have a prototype that we’ll be showing to our schools as we write new guidelines for what actually locking the front door looks like,” Rampersant said.
The DOE also invests in human resources, including $9 million in federal stimulus funds, to place volunteer violent interrupters from local nonprofits on the city payroll.
“We thought, why not hire these people and bring them into our schools to help us keep our students, staff and our visitors safe?” said Rampersant.
Meanwhile, a second class of school security agents under the Adams administration will graduate later this month, adding 200 staff in time for the 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 agents, estimated the current class is closer to 175 agents — and is doing little to get more hands on deck systemwide.
“I’m sure about 175 have retired since the end of the school year,” said Floyd, who receives retiree reports with a 2-3 month lag. “You go through math with people who don’t know math — and it’s good that you have a different class — but you don’t say how many people have retired.”
Floyd estimated there is still a shortage of 2,000 agents compared to the pre-pandemic workforce and the peak of the police defund movement.
He added that all agents were required to complete active rifleman training after the shooting at a mass school in Texas.
“This is new,” Floyd said. “But what they really need now is help – not for an active shooter. They need help with everyday gun prevention.”
Thousands of guns were seized from public schools over the past school year, which Banks attributed to students’ concerns about their safety traveling to and from school buildings.
Floyd also questioned the timing of the announcements and has not yet hired the school’s security agents because the first day of school was right around the corner.
“All I hear is ‘we’re looking,’ ‘we’re looking.’ But I don’t see any results from ‘looking’ 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 learn of new protocols.
https://nypost.com/2022/08/12/nyc-schools-to-ramp-up-safety-protocols-for-new-school-year/ NYC schools to improve safety protocols for new school year