How Safe are Westchester County Schools and Their Students?
What measures have been taken, post-Newtown, to ensure our kids’ safety?
The countdown to the first day of school always brings a bit of uncertainty and anxiety for parents and students alike: Will there be more homework than last year? Will we ever get through this entire back-to-school shopping list? And—in the wake of last year’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, who can help but worry—will our children be safe at school?
As might be expected, many local schools have recently implemented stricter visitor sign-in procedures and have installed new cameras, locks, and reinforced doors. But they’re not rushing blindly into a brand-new ballgame. New York schools have a jump on safety and security protocols, thanks to regulations that went into effect in 2000, after the shootings at Columbine High School. “More than a decade ago, New York became a leader in school safety when it enacted the SAVE [Safe Schools Against Violence in Education] Act,” says Jonathan Burman, a spokesman for the New York State Education Department. “SAVE requires all school districts to adopt district-wide and building-level safety plans so they are prepared to respond immediately to crisis situations. There is nothing more important than the safety of our children, and New York has taken important steps to help ensure they are safe while in our schools.”