On Tuesday, February 14th, Mayor Eric Adams told New York City school principals to have weekly meetings with NYPD commanders. The instruction to meet police commanders was given by Adams during a Zoom meeting with school principals. The meetings are to be held to highlight safety problems and find situations for them.
The meeting is said to have lasted 20 minutes and was attended by Schools Chancellor David Banks. Mayor Adams reportedly encouraged school principals to report their concerns to the NYPD. Adams also suggested that NYPD commanders should have the contact details for principals.
“The safety and well-being of all of our students is our absolute top priority,” said DOE spokesperson Jenna Lyle in a statement. “We appreciate the NYPD for taking this step to ensure our young people are safe when traveling to and from schools, and in their communities.”
Chancellor Banks has described the high levels of violent incidents involving teenagers as “heart-wrenching.” When referring to the new initiative, Banks said, “We’re not having cops running into schools to do some hostile takeover.” He continued, “What we are saying is that 30 minutes or so after school as kids are transitioning from the school building into the neighborhood, we need all hands on deck.”
“There’s no one answer,” Banks said. “It takes all of us ensuring that the safety of all of our children is paramount to everything we’re trying to do. You can’t teach them if they’re afraid of being shot every day.” Since the beginning of the year, there have been several incidents of violence, some of them leading to the death of school children.
The Adams Administration has made efforts to fight the rise in crime and violence affecting schools. Mayor Adams’ proposed budget shows he intends on adding $47.5 million toward school safety measures. The Administration also launched the Project Pivot program which provides students with mentoring, career counseling, and recreational services.
However, some school principals have called the idea unclear. According to Gothamist, some principals, who chose to remain anonymous, said it was vague what resources the NYPD would provide to schools. The Adams Administration was also criticized for defunding extramural activities that helped keep school children occupied.