A 4-year-old girl fell from the second floor window of her home earlier this month in Bedford-Stuyvesant and suffered minor injuries. While police said the child broke her hip – and that both parents were home when the fall occurred – the consequences of the fall could have been deadly.
In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of having window guards installed in one’s home, School District 18’s Community Education Council (CEC18) hosted a vital discussion on the topic at their June meeting, held via Zoom.
Director of Enforcement with the Healthy Homes Program and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Yma Andries spoke about the “Chapter 12 NYC Rule.”
“The law requires that building owners provide and properly install approved window guards in apartments where a child 10 years or younger resides,” Andries said. “The guards must prevent windows from opening too wide – there should never be more than 4.5 inches of open and unguarded space and they have to be able to hold the weights of at least 130 pounds.”
Andries said this is not a new rule, as the law for window guards (which apply to multiple dwellings with three or more apartment units/floors) was enacted in 1976. Tenants must be informed in their leases and lease renewals about this law so they can make sure apartment windows follow the correct guidelines. Building owners must securely install DOHMH approved guards in common areas as well (hallways, stairwells, etc.).
The exception to the laws on where window guards should be installed includes windows leading to fire escapes and those with permanent air conditioners.
“Alternatively, tenants cannot remove window guards to install air conditioners. In most buildings, the law states that property management must install units for you so that the window is still secure and your child can’t easily push their way outside,” said the representative, who also showed slides on window guards versus burglar bars – noting they do not offer the same type of security.
In other statistical news, District 18 Superintendent Celeste Terry offered an elaborate presentation on stimulus funding for education, school budgets and C4E (Contracts for Excellence) plans.
One of the initiatives that continue to be a priority is class size reduction, which requires additional budgeting for more teachers and possibly opening new schools.
According to the Laws of 2022 and the “Class Size Reduction Plan,” New York State revised the C4E law last year, establishing new class size caps, requiring the Department of Education to create a five-year class size reduction plan to comply with the new caps.
“We are required to have 20% of classes in compliance this coming year, increasing to 40% the next year, until it’s implemented 100% in the fifth year – which would be school year 2027-2028,” Superintendent Terry said.
There will also be Class Size Working Groups which will involve parents, advocates, stakeholders and educators to develop, recommend and advise NYC schools with implementing the new law. Those who are part of the working group should visit schools.nyc.gov/classsize.
The superintendent also reviewed attendance data for District 18, which has been trending well overall from the beginning of the school year until last April. The schools with chronic absenteeism – still the highest in the District – are P.S. 219, 272 and 268.
“The great news is that we’ve had the lowest rate of chronic absenteeism since the pandemic and our goal is for District absenteeism to drop to at least 36% and we’ve been on track so far,” she added.
CEC18 will continue to host meetings during the summer break. Please call 718-566-6037 for more information on their July agenda and Zoom codes.