ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — School safety is on the minds of many, after a deadly school shooting in Nashville and false reports of shootings at multiple New York school districts. The Assembly Minority updated New Yorkers on the latest from the Task Force on School Safety and Security. The task force has met up a total of six times, you can find their report here. They traveled around the state listening to parents, faculty, and law enforcement to come up with a plan to protect our youth and prevent further tragedies from taking place. Two key takeaways from those meetings were mental health and open communication.
“The ability for our mental health professionals, school professionals, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, law enforcement, all to be able to speak with each other together about relevant issues is going to be critical and moving things forward in terms of promoting school safety,” said Dr. Michael Prezioso, Director of the Saratoga County Mental Health & Addiction Services.
Assembly member and co-chair Michael Reilly said the task force did discuss the possibility for police officers and EMTs to recommend youth be brought in for an evaluation when there’s an incident of crisis. “Right now that’s a very difficult task. They don’t have the authority to do that, EMTs, there are first responders, so that may be something that we think would be good policy,” said Reilly. There was also discussion of implementing more school resource officers. “They balance being law-enforcement, being teachers, and sometimes even being counselors to students and staff members in the entire school community. They’re an outlet for people to have a conversation with,” explained Reilly.
Assembly member Scott Gray has proposed legislation that would make school swatting a Class E felony. “You’re not only diverting police resources to a particular address or a particular school, or something in that incident. It’s also very intimidating to people. It’s a serious issue,” said Gray. The Assembly member is hoping to get that legislation passed this session.