Monday, 24 October 2022 10:50

OP ED: School Safety Is Top Priority For Assembly Minority Conference

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Keeping the public safe is the most important job of any legislative body.

That charge comes with many different considerations, and in recent months we have seen a critical gap in the safety of New York’s school children. To help address that gap, our Conference launched the Assembly Minority Task Force on School Safety & Security to collect feedback in response to the increased acts of violence in schools and address other important measures to keep children and educators safe while on school grounds.

As such, I named Assemblymen Joseph M. Giglio (R,C,I-Gowanda), Doug Smith (R,C,I-Holbrook) and Mike Reilly (R,C-Staten Island) as task force co-chairmen. Our first two events, one on Long Island and one on Staten Island, were great successes. The feedback we are receiving from law enforcement, educators, mental health professionals, parents and local officials will be extremely valuable as we craft legislative solutions to address this public safety crisis. We will also generate a comprehensive report with recommendations and legislation at the conclusion of our statewide tour.

In the coming weeks, there will be three more forums. Our next event will be Wednesday, Oct. 26 at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES’ Main Campus in Liverpool. The next day, Oct. 27, we will be hosting an event at Ogden Town Hall in Spencerport and, finally, our Capital Region forum will be held Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. We look forward to hearing from experts and stakeholders in those regions, too, as their experience and insight will help us further craft targeted, effective legislation.

It is never easy to discuss violence impacting children. Sadly, we have seen an unprecedented uptick in violent crime in New York and across the nation, including tragic school shootings, domestic terror attacks and other isolated incidents leading to a heartbreaking number of fatalities. Now is the time for action. We must give law enforcement and school districts the tools they need to identify, prevent and mitigate these awful attacks. We must bolster mental health services across the board, and we must ensure everyone who enters a school in New York can do so safely.

Rightfully, parents, school personnel and students are frightened. Children and educators cannot thrive if they do not feel safe in their learning environment. The Assembly Minority Conference is steadfastly committed to making sure every New Yorker is safe, and this task force is an important step in that direction.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at [email protected] You may also find me, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, on Facebook or on Twitter at @WillABarclay.

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