Vallone, DiNapoli Rally For School Safety

Queens Gazette

Jun 13, 2018

Standing with New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, parents, teachers and students on June 11, Council Member Paul Vallone held a rally in support of improving school safety throughout the city. School safety continues to be a major issue in the national spotlight and changes need to be made to ensure that students can learn and grow in the safest environment possible.

The rally called for the passage of Council Member Vallone’s legislative package to create a School Safety Task Force that will take a top to bottom look at the current state of school safety in NYC and require NYPD and DOE recommendations for changes. His bill was introduced as part of an 11-bill legislative package which outlines the responsibilities and scope of the recommendations that the task force will make. They will require reviews of the schools’ current evacuation plans and crisis response protocols, update infrastructure technologies, including security camera systems, develop collaborative preparedness procedures for the community and city agencies at public and nonpublic schools, increase public notification for school emergencies, and train school personnel to better handle any crisis.

As budget negotiations with the administration come to a conclusion, Vallone once again called for increased funding in the city budget to install new internet protocol digital video surveillance systems (IPDVS) in schools. Out of over 1,700 schools in NYC, only 1,123 have IPDVS, leaving a third of schools without this vital necessity. In Vallone’s district, the problem is worse, with 62 percent of schools lacking this modern security system. The current Department of Education (DOE) five-year capital plan for FY15-19 allocated $100 million for IPDVS but it focused on upgrading existing IPDVS in schools, rather than installing new ones. Vallone called for an additional $100 million in the City Council’s response to the preliminary budget, but it was not included in the administration’s Executive Budget.

“Today, we gather for our children and their safety in our schools. The complete failure on the federal level to do anything and increased tragic events that have unfolded in our country has brought us together to be proactive and not reactive,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “We are surrounded and supported today by parents, students, principals, teachers and elected officials who want to be heard and stand with our children. I’m proud to have Speaker Corey Johnson support and cosponsor this legislation as we continue to lead the charge for school safety. We will keep the fight going until every student and school has the tools they need to keep them safe.

“The horrific school shootings we’ve seen across the country have become all too common. We need to do everything we can to minimize the very real dangers schoolchildren are facing,” New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. “I commend Councilman Vallone on the common-sense measures he is advancing. Every layer of protection we can add could save lives in the future.”

“Community Board 7 applauds Council Member Paul Vallone’s legislation to create an NYC School Safety Task Force and for his request to increase funding for overall school safety,” said Charles Apelian, Vice Chair of Community Board 7. “CB 7 was proud to enact a Safe Schools Resolution calling for new legislation to keep our schools safe, and we thank NYS Comptroller DiNapoli for his support and we ask all elected officials to follow both their efforts.”