Calls for school safety concerns increase as violence in schools skyrocket
In the wake of increased violence in schools throughout the city, parents are expressing concerns about student safety in the classroom due to the lack of school safety agents in school buildings.
Images of a blood-stained sidewalk from a recent slashing outside Truman High School clings to parents as concerns grow regarding the acts of violence that have already taken place three weeks into the school year.
"This is a crisis. The ongoing violence that's happening in our schools and around our schools is out of control," said Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union.
Davids says she fears the incidents of school violence will increase if the number of school safety agents continues to dwindle.
She said, "We all agree on one thing, our children are in crisis, our children are not safe."
Gregory Floyd is the union president of Teamsters Local 237, representing the thousands of school safety agents working in the city's public school system.
He says out of roughly 3,500 school safety agents, 745 are still not vaccinated.
A vaccine mandate went into effect Monday, requiring all employees working in the city's public schools to be vaccinated or take unpaid leave.
Floyd says the mandate plays a small part in staffing issues. Instead, he blames the lack of support from the city and City Council.
"School safety agents haven't been hired since 2019, so before the mandate of vaccines, we were roughly down to 1200 people," said Floyd.
The Department of Education informed school principals that they would have at least one school agent stationed in the building, while larger schools would have additional patrol.
In prior years, the DOE recruited about 500 school safety agents. Davids says this current class is only half of that number which, according to him, is still not enough to keep students safe.
Advocates will rally at City Hall on Sunday to demand action to ensure the safety of students.