Adams suggested parents patrol schools instead of professional security guards, whom the city has cut
Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday that parents may have to volunteer to help keep New York City schools safe after hundreds of newly trained security agents were cut, but parents quickly criticized the idea, the New York Post reported.
“We’re going to get parents and parent groups to volunteer,” Adams said when asked about the 250 school safety agents who were recently laid off as the cost of dealing with the migrant crisis continues to cripple the city.
“We’re going to get to our crisis management team,” he continued during his weekly news conference at City Hall. “We will try to do everything right.” However, parents quickly rejected the idea, with some saying they should not take responsibility for protecting their children at school.
It was not immediately clear what parents would do if they were enlisted as volunteers, as the mayor is proposing, but the security agents’ responsibilities include patrolling school buildings, operating scanners and checking the identities of visitors, among other things.
Security agents have also seized numerous guns from students in recent years, including one incident in 2021 in which three guns were confiscated in a matter of hours at different high schools.
“It’s not my job or any parent’s job to patrol the school, that’s not why I send my child to school,” said Sarah Lewis, 42, as she waited for her sixth-grader daughter at Great Oaks Charter School in the West Village.
“This whole situation is just ridiculous,” said another parent, whose child is in seventh grade. “Private and public schools already need additional funding, and now this is asking parents to help them do their own work!”
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“I usually don’t even have time to pick up my child,” said one parent sitting outside the school. “Now they want us to come and act as guards?”
Even the union that represents school agents who work for the NYPD but don’t carry guns rejected Adams’ proposal. “People pay taxes for professional services. Why should they even be asked to do the work they pay taxes for?” said Local 237 union spokesman Hank Sheinkopf.
Outrage from Staten Islanders
Staten Island elected officials have slammed the administration over cuts to its security force, arguing that the massive costs of fighting the migrant crisis are now undermining services to city residents.
At the beginning of the year, the mayor already warned that all city departments could cut 15% of their budgets due to the ever-increasing costs of the migrant crisis, which he estimates will cost the city $12 billion over three fiscal years. Adams gave all departments until this month to cut 5% of their budgets and told them to prepare for two more rounds, for a total of another 10%.
Speaking about the upcoming budget cuts, the mayor sidestepped a question about whether he was concerned about student safety as new agents were fired. Instead, he pointed out that there were no mass shootings in New York City schools. “We have been successful, unlike other municipalities where in some cases mass shootings occur on school grounds,” Adams said during the briefing.
“We have not had a single shooting inside a school thanks to the work of school security officers and the New York Police Department.” He added that he was in contact with the head of the Department of Education, David Banks, to “redeploy staff as much as possible” to ensure the safety of students.
The migration crisis is the source of all problems
Gotham Public Schools currently employs about 3,900 school safety officers—25% fewer than before the pandemic.
Staten Island leaders on Monday called on the mayor’s office and the NYPD to restore a reduced number of trained school security agents, with Borough President Vito Fossella saying they have been saying for months that the costs of housing migrants are unsustainable.
“About a year ago, when the migrant shelter crisis began to grow, we said that it would then become unsustainable and that sooner or later the hardworking people of this area would suffer. And they suffer,” Fossella said.
“If you want to spend $12 billion and keep spending $12 billion on the migrant crisis, so be it, but don’t take it away from the hardworking people of Staten Island.”