In response to the rising threat of mass shootings in schools across the US, New York City public schools have announced plans to lock their front doors and require staff to admit visitors via a buzzing system. The initiative, set to begin next month, will start with elementary schools before being rolled out to all other public schools in the city.
“Something that keeps me up at night is when I look around the country and I see the issues that are happening with these mass shootings,” New York City schools chancellor David Banks stated during a school safety briefing on Friday 7th April.
Banks highlighted that this initiative aims to provide a different level of safety to schools. “That’s not the daily issues that we’re looking at, but that is meant to prevent the mass tragedies that we’ve been seeing all too often across the nation,” Banks said. “And we’re going to do everything we can to prevent something like that from happening.”
As part of the new security measures, cameras and buzzing systems will be installed in schools. School safety agents, who are already responsible for signing in visitors, will now also monitor the cameras. School entrances will continue to remain open during arrivals and dismissals.
In February, the city’s Panel for Educational Policy approved a $43 million contract with Symbrant Technologies, Inc. to implement the initiative, according to Chalkbeat.
The idea of locking main entrances to schools was first proposed by Banks in May 2022, following a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which resulted in the tragic loss of 19 students and two teachers, as reported by the Gothamist.
Unfortunately, multiple mass shootings have occurred since the Uvalde tragedy, including an incident at an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, late last month, which claimed the lives of three students and three staff members.
The decision to lock school doors and implement these additional security measures has garnered both support and concern from parents and educators. Some argue that the increased security will help prevent potential tragedies, while others worry that it may create an unwelcoming environment for students and families.
However, it is evident that the city is taking the threat of mass shootings seriously, and this move represents a significant step towards enhancing the safety and security of New York City’s public schools.
As the initiative is implemented and expanded to all public schools, the city will closely monitor its effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the safety and well-being of its students and staff.
In a world where school shootings have become all too common, the need for proactive measures to protect students and staff is paramount. With the implementation of locked doors, cameras, and buzzing systems, New York City is making a clear statement that the safety of its schools and communities is a top priority.