School safety in New York City has been a perpetual concern for parents, teachers, and the community. These concerns have continued to grow as there has been an increase in weapons found on school premises. News 12 NY covered the matter, stating that in the period between July 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023, 383 weapons have been found at schools. The increase of weapons at schools stands at 15.3%, according to the NYPD, leaving many to question the current state of school safety. “When you send your child to school, you just don’t know what may happen,” said Susie Wong-Benjamin, the parent of a child who attends the Second Grade at P.S 596 X. “They don’t even know what is going on, or the danger that surrounds them.”
Reduction of School Safety Agents
The reduction in the number of School Safety Agents is another concern. The number of School Safety Agents has been on a steady decline every year for the last four years. On January 1st, 2020, New York City had 5,153 school safety agents and on January 1st, 2023, that number had reduced to 4,217. LittleAfrica News has reported on both the issues of school safety and the shortage of School Safety Agents.
Mona Davids, founder of the New York City School Safety Coalition, expressed her concerns about school safety. “You have schools – high schools that used to have 14 safety agents and now only have seven or eight,” said Davids. “All of this is endangering the safety of our children.”
Mayor Adams’ Response
Davids asked Mayor Eric Adams about the shortage of School Safety Agents at a meeting on January 6th. Mayor Adams acknowledged that more can be done to rectify the issue of a lower number of School Safety Agents. “I don’t believe we have a strong recruitment campaign,” said Adams. “Many people are not aware of the jobs that are available.”
The mayor’s office said that while the number of weapons found in schools has increased, incidents of violence have decreased. Adams’ Administration released a statement on school safety saying, “The safety of our students and our schools will always be a top priority for this administration…DOE works closely with the NYPD to ensure schools have the staffing needed to maintain a safe environment, which is not impacted as we fill vacant positions.”
*Mona Davids is founder and publisher of LittleAfrica News.