Kudos to the NYPD for reversing its decision on the posting of armed officers in three public high schools in Queens.
Earlier in March, the Police Department came to a decision to pull officers who had been stationed full-time at Francis Lewis, Benjamin Cardozo and Bayside high schools by April 1. This conclusion, which came nearly a month after 17 people — 14 teenagers and three adults — were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was understandably met with outrage from parents and students, especially those connected to Francis Lewis High School.
This led to a petition to bring an armed officer back to the high school, which houses more than 4,400 students. It garnered over 1,000 signatures
“The federal government and local communities are suggesting that schools arm their teachers and hire private armed security to keep us safe, yet [New York City] is actually taking the security away from their largest school — Does that make sense?” the petition asked.
That helped lead to the reversal of the NYPD’s decision and the reinstatement of armed officers at the three Queens schools.
But the fact that pulling armed officers was even remotely considered is concerning, especially after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Perhaps the worst part of this controversy is that no one is taking responsibility for it. Police said it was a Department of Education decision and the DOE claims it was an NYPD ruling.
There needs to be a sense of unity between the two entities. With an issue as serious as our children’s safety, there should only be one side and one answer: Do whatever it takes to keep our kids safe.
New York City boasts the largest school district in the country, serving 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools. Our city — not just Queens — should pride itself on making our schools as safe as possible. And that means posting an armed guard at as many schools as possible to help prevent a mass shooting and threats of any kind.
This controversy shows that parents feel safer knowing that there is an armed officer at their child’s school. That should be all it takes to convince the NYPD, the DOE, and anyone else that this should be mandatory throughout the city.
Our children are our future, and we need to ensure that they’re around to guide our country into the next generation. That starts with keeping them safe in school.