New York City Schools Chancellor David C. Banks announced that the Department of Education (DOE) has a new comprehensive plan to reimagine school culture as well as student safety.
The new plan aims to utilize community and city-funded resources to ensure all students are physically and emotionally safe in their schools.
“When a parent kisses their child goodbye in the morning, they trust that their child will be both emotionally and physically safe at school,” said Chancellor Banks on Sept 7. “This administration is prioritizing the reimagining of our commitment to supporting the whole child from the day they enter our schools to the day they graduate.”
The new plan will be focusing on prioritizing both physical and mental wellbeing in schools.
This includes hiring additional School Safety Agents, working on enhanced safety trainings for principals, assistant principals and building response team leaders in the case of an emergency, increased real-time communication as well as conducting a comprehensive city-wide safety assessment.
To ensure emotional wellbeing, the DOE is establishing Project Pivot – a new initiative that brings together community-based organizations with proven track records in youth support and violence interruption.
Additionally, the DOE will continue to fight the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s spread within schools as it did so successfully last school year. The DOE will also be monitoring schools for any spread of monkeypox, though transmission risk in children PreK-12 is low.
“Our families’ biggest concerns should be on the studies of their children, which is why we are doubling down on this work to take concerns about safety out of the equation,” Chancellor Banks said during his announcement Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the United Federation of Teachers responded to the news emphasizing the importance of mental health needs.
“While it’s good to see the increased hiring of school safety agents, teachers want to make sure that the clinicians and therapists that were promised last year actually get into our schools to help deal with students’ emotional needs,” the spokesperson told amNew York on Wednesday. “In addition, any new spending on hardware like metal detectors should not come out of the instructional budget.”
Last updated 9/7/2022 1:20 pm