Following Friday's tragedy in which at , parents may be wondering what type of safety precautions exist in New York City public schools.
Patch talked to Officer Tania Salters of Prospect Heights' 77th Precinct, who spent nine years in the precinct's school unit, assigned to Paul Robeson High School, who said the city's public schools have signifcant safety procedures in place:
- Every police precinct has a school unit, which patrols the precinct's schools, rounds up truant students and helps with emergencies such as an injured student.
- Some schools with a history of violence have officers from the school unit stationed there all day, but most don't.
- In addition to the school unit officers, the NYPD also has a school safety division, which stations an unarmed officer at every public school. These officers have "officer of the peace" status: they have handcuffs, radios connected to the NYPD, shields, and can make arrests. However, they do not have guns and they don't wear bulletproof vests.
- Since most buildings have multiple schools, there are usually several school safety officers in every building.
- Visitors to schools must sign in and show ID when they arrive.
- All NYPD officers have "active shooter" training. "What they tell us is if we are on patrol, we have to take action immediately. We can't wait for SWAT or Emergency Operations to come and clear the building," Salters said. "We have to come in, clear the building and if need be take out the shooter."
- In New York City, there are metal detectors in 88 public schools, according to the Department of Education. In Prospect Heights, Acorn High School has hand scanners that school safety officers can use if they suspect a student may be carrying a weapon. There are no other metal detectors in the 77th precinct.
Do you think there are enough school safety measures in place in New York City public schools? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.