NEW YORK, NY – Planning requirements for shootings and emerge situations in New York City’s schools need to be more strictly enforced by New York City’s Department of Education (DOE), according to an audit released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
Auditors found DOE was lax in requiring that safety plans were filed on time by schools and policies did not routinely align regulations with state requirements, causing gaps and inconsistencies. When auditors visited schools and examined safety plans, they found plans with incorrect or outdated contact information for key personnel, unarmed door alarms and radios that were turned off or were not working, among other issues.
“The state Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act aims to keep school children and teachers as safe as possible in a time of school shootings by requiring districts to plan for the unthinkable,” DiNapoli said. “While it’s clear the New York City Department of Education takes school safety seriously, there are gaps that must be addressed. Schools large and small need to do everything possible to protect students and teachers from senseless tragedy.”
The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Act, enacted in 2000, mandates training and instruction for preventing and responding to incidents of school violence and establishes a statewide uniform system for reporting violent incidents. NYC schools do not always align with the superseding SAVE Act and state regulations.
“Protecting our city’s children must be our highest priority, and we cannot wait for another national tragedy to act,” said New York City Council Member Paul Vallone. “It is apparent we must do better to ensure our schools have comprehensive, universal and non-intrusive protocols in place to mitigate and respond to any unthinkable emergency threats to our students and teachers.”