NYC Mayor Cancels Class of 250 New School Safety Agents
No reason for the cancellation of training for the newly recruited school safety agents has been given by Mayor Adams.
The administration of New York City Mayor Eric Adams has cancelled training for 250 new school safety agents. The prospective safety agents learned of the cancellation on Friday, hours before their classes were to begin.
The reason for the cancellation is not known but comes as Adams has warned that the current migrant crisis will require city agencies to reduce spending, reports the New York Daily News. The mayor has also implemented a hiring freeze, except for public safety agencies, public health agencies, and agencies that generate revenue. It’s unclear if school safety agents fall under the public safety exemption.
The union that represents the school safety agents blasted Adams’ decision to cancel the cohort. The union also demanded an explanation, reports The Chief.
Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, said he was concerned that the cancellation could make the current shortage of school safety agents worse. Prior to the pandemic, there were about 5,000 safety agents assigned to NYC public schools. As of March, that number dropped to 3,900. Currently, the number of safety agents is 3,930. Floyd said the annual attrition rate of school safety agents runs anywhere from 500 to 1,000.
Hank Sheinkopf, a Local 237 Teamsters rep, told the Daily News the city is going to suffer from not hiring more officers.
From July 2022 to June 2023, major felony crimes at city public schools increased by 16% compared to the previous fiscal year, according to the Mayor’s Management Report. The rate of burglaries and grand larcenies also increased during the same period.
While all of this is happening, NYC public schools are investing in a door-locking video surveillance system, and agents are being trained how to operate the equipment.
Additionally, the New York Police Department (NYPD) is launching a 24/7 tip line that would allow school community members to report their concerns about safety, mental health, bullying, cyberbullying, and self harm, reports Chalkbeat New York. NYPD officials indicated the tip line would launch this fall, although a specific date has not been announced.
The city is also piloting the SaferWatch app that could be used as a panic button by school safety agents. It will eventually be made available to students and parents.
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