Protecting Children At School Is Paramount
The horrific tragedies witnessed in Parkland, Florida and Newtown, Connecticut were both devastating and eye-opening. The senseless, indiscriminate murder of school children is nearly impossible to understand and its impact is overwhelming. While I offer my deepest sympathies to the victims, parents and students still grappling with the aftermath of the attacks, I know that my job as a legislative leader is to fight for tangible measures to prevent another attack and keep our children safe.
Earlier this week, the Assembly Minority Conference called on the governor to create an emergency Temporary Commission on School Safety and Security. Gov. Cuomo himself said, “History provides moments where real change is possible.” The bipartisan Commission we are recommending is the perfect mechanism for that very change.
This Commission would include representatives from the Executive, Legislature, Court System, law enforcement and education community with the aim of developing standardized school safety protocols and finding a way to generate the needed funding.
We must take immediate action. There are task forces and panels in New York to study bee pollination, plastic bag use and lodging, and while each have specific objectives, they absolutely don’t rise to the life-or-death stakes of school violence. Together, through this Commission, we must find ways to keep New York students and teachers safe and have the necessary blueprint to implement changes quickly and efficiently.
SECURING SCHOOLS REQUIRES BROAD ACTION
In recent weeks, public officials at every level of government have offered their perspectives, proposed various policies and reinforced their political ideologies in the wake of the tragedy in Florida. Our focus must be on the students, teachers and schools, setting a standard of security, and deterring the potential for a similar attack to take place here in New York.
Sadly, no single measure will be enough to prevent another senseless tragedy. An armed school resource officer, metal detector and a single, secure entry point at every school building are but a few ways to drastically reduce the chances of another attack. By collecting the input of lawmakers and public safety experts through this emergency Commission, we can develop a clear, effective plan of action.
New York should be a place of learning and growth, not fear and anxiety. Our students and educators deserve to be safe, parents should not fear sending their children to school, and it is imperative we take immediate steps toward that end. I sincerely hope the governor brings together the relevant parties to begin to study school violence. It is a public safety crisis we simply cannot afford to ignore.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.