Parents and students across the country are understandably rattled by the increase in youth violence. Innocent children across our city have been getting caught in the crossfire of gunshots ringing out in broad daylight. The May 24th Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas was also an awakening for school security measures.
Thankfully, School District 18 Superintendent Celeste Terry (formerly Ms. Douglas, as the educator recently got married) had reassuring news to share with those who attended the Community Education Council’s (CEC) June meeting – hosted via Zoom on Monday, June 6th.
“When it comes to safety and building security, New York school buildings are secure – we’ve been ahead and prepared in many ways,” she told attendees. “All of our school doors are locked and the only way students and visitors are to enter the building is through main entrances where there are security guards.”
She continued, “In addition to the traditional fire drills conducted three times a year, we have shelter-in drills as well as protocols for soft lockdowns and hard lockdowns – depending on whether there is imminent danger that takes place and if teachers are to barricade students in classrooms or evacuate.”
Terry also noted that the community has designated “safe corridors” for students to traverse, although she didn’t specify what streets or commercial thoroughfares are the most secure for youngsters. It wasn’t discussed if there are safe-haven locations outside of school hours and if children are taught how to remain vigilant in the midst of what’s become everyday street violence.
Administrative Assistant Ann Caesar said she will invite agents with NYPD’s School Safety Division to a future meeting to discuss any updated security measures and protocols.
In exciting news, the board announced that their next meeting will finally take place in person at the District 18 Satellite office, 1106 East 95th Street, on Monday, July 11th at 7 p.m. For more information, call their team at 718-566-6037.