NYC’s Panel for Education Policy approves $43 million contract to add remote door locking system to schools
New York City’s Panel for Education Policy approved a $43 million contract that would add an extra layer of protection in schools through a systemwide remote door locking system.
The system would operate through an intercom, similarly to a video buzzer system that one may see in certain apartment buildings.
The panel held a meeting Thursday night, where the contract was discussed and eventually passed through a vote. Despite passing, there was significant pushback from NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks.
The $43 million contract grants the money to Symbrant Technologies, who will be installing the door locking systems in city schools. Currently, all front doors in NYC public schools are unlocked and manned by NYPD school safety agents, but now front doors are expected to be locked during school hours.
The contract has raised concerns among some of the panelists, who questioned whether the locked doors would keep kids safe inside, and how it would operate.
"So does the school safety agents, are they asking for people's ID? Are they questioning why they're there? What are the plans if there was an incident outside the school, how do children get into the school,” said Tom Sheppard, member of the Panel for Education Policy. “There are all these unanswered questions that made it really difficult for some panel members, myself included, to vote to approve it."
Now that the contract has been approved, it needs to be registered with the city’s comptroller before any installation can begin. No timeline has been set for when the work will begin.