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School Security Plan Is Rejected

No To CEC 24’s Armed Guard Idea

Hiring armed, retired police officers to patrol the schools and other safety measures recommended last month by the Community Education Council of District 24 (CEC) have been rejected by the Department of Education (DOE) in a letter received by the advisory body last week.

Randy Lafargue, borough manager of the DOE’s Division of Family and Community Engagement, informed the council in the letter- which was forwarded to the Times Newsweekly-that the agency would not consider the provisions outlined in Resolution 77 passed by the CEC at their Jan. 22 meeting.

Drafted in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn. last December, the council’s recommendation called for the DOE to hire 1,200 retired police officers- carrying concealed handguns-to patrol all of the city’s public schools. The resolution also urged the agency to install panic buttons that signals police immediately for assistance and front door buzzer entry systems to further enhance security.

“Through collaboration with the [NYPD], reforms to the discipline code to promote safety and anti-bullying and peer mediation programs, our schools are safer today than they’ve been in more than a decade,” Lafargue wrote. “The DOE will continue to work closely with the NYPD to review the proposals announced by the U.S. Department of Education and the availability of additional federal funds to provide enhanced security.”

“However, the DOE does not believe that placing armed personnel, buzzers and/or panic buttons in every school building is an appropriate school safety measure and is not considering this proposal,” he added.

Nick Comaianni, CEC 24 president, expressed his disappointment in the DOE’s decision in a phone interview with the Times Newsweekly last Thursday, Feb. 7.

“To say that you don’t any police protection in the schools is totally wrong,” he said, going on to note that “I would think they would have wanted a little more conversation about it, a little more dialogue. They just put the letter out and said this was the decision.”

Comaianni also stated that the rejection of the CEC’s resolution was an example of the DOE going against its stated policy of having a desire to hear and consider the input of parents across the city.

“This administration does not want any dialogue,” he said. “If it was up to them, we would have no input whatsoever.” Hinting that the situation is the result of mayoral control, Comaianni observed, “the good news is that there is only one more year of this regime. Hopefully, with the next mayor, we can get back to a democracy.”

As for what the council will do now that their resolution has been dismissed, the CEC 24 president indicated that the body would continue to pursue increased security in public schools and hope that the DOE would one day change its mind.

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