New York, NY – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has followed through with his plan to remove police officers from all New York City public schools, despite nationwide demands for increased school security in the wake of the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.
“There’s nothing more terrifying than putting more guns in our kids schools,” de Blasio told WPIX just after the attack, during which 17 people were murdered, and 14 more were wounded.
De Blasio had planned to remove New York Police Department (NYPD) officers even before the deadly mass shooting, and said he would instead introduce unarmed school safety agents at each of the city’s 1,700 schools, the New York Post reported.
It's not clear how the unarmed security will be able to stop school shootings.
The mayor’s new NYPD community policing units are being told to freuqntly stop by schools as part of their patrol duties, he said.
“It’s ridiculous. All over the country they are telling you ‘arm the teachers, get an officer in your school.’ New York City had a designated officer and they are actually cutting the program . . . they are making us less secure,” Parents-Teacher Association (PTA) co-president Linda Lovett told The Epoch Times. “You are talking about 5,000 people in a one-block radius, and you’re telling me you can’t designate one officer?”
New York City Councilmen Joe Borelli expressed concern that the safety agents would not be enough to keep students safe.
“The school safety agents are great and they do a phenomenal job and they do a very important job of monitoring the front door, but unfortunately we have seen school shootings like this one in Parkland and of course Sandy Hook before this,” Borelli told WPIX.
“We have 40,000 [uniformed] police officers, [and] some of these officers are already assigned to schools. We are not talking about a drastic change,” he continued. “The reality is, this is something that could and will stop a school shooting.”
But de Blasio disagreed, and said that the cost of stationing officers at each school was impractical.
“Adding an armed police officer in each school building would place an enormous fiscal burden on the City’s budget,” he said in June of 2017, according to the New York Post. “The cost of this proposal is estimated to be $1.2 billion annually.”
Using the Mayor's math, that's roughly a cost of $705,000 per officer if one was assigned to each school.
State senators Simcha Felder and Andrew Lanza fired back at the mayor for denying the proposal.
“What we fundamentally disagree on is the value of protecting our children. An armed New York City police officer at the entrance of public and non-public school buildings is the best and most efficient way to deter an attack, and, if need be, neutralize an armed attacker,” the senators told de Blasio, according to the New York Post.
“Yet, you reject our recommendation not on the merits, but by hiding behind a price tag!” they said. “God forbid we have an incident tomorrow. Do we have to wait for kids in a public school to get killed to do something?”
Lovett said that the PTA has not backed down from their demand to have officers returned to the city’s schools, and noted that the group has collected over 1,000 signatures in support of their cause in just two days, the New York Post reported.
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