NEW YORK - New York City's public school students will begin the new school year on Thursday, and officials are focusing on how they can keep students physically and emotionally safe when they return.
New schools chancellor David Banks announced his strategy for safety on Wednesday, with the creation of a more extensive school safety plan.
"Safety is a basic, fundamental need, and as educators, we know that when a child has to worry about their safety, they're not going to be ready to take full advantage of their education and reach their fullest potential," Banks said.
The Chancellor of the nation’s largest public school district says recent tragedies like the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas have prompted him to create new plan, including a new system to alert principals, teachers, and parents of an immediate threat.
David Banks, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.
"Principals will now have access to a secure push notification messaging system, which will allow schools to communicate with staff and families in real-time," Banks said.
Chancellor Banks is also hiring more than 350 school safety officers, with 200 will be ready to begin work on the first day of school. Active shooter training will also be provided for educators of all age groups.
"It's unfortunate that we have to be in a place where even early childhood providers, those who are working with our babies, have to receive a level of training to be prepared for the potential of an active shooter in the facility," Banks said.
For Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who will be taking his own son to public school on the first day, these measures are a necessary sign of the times.
"After all of the tragedies we've seen across the country in recent months it's incumbent on us to ensure we are doing all we can to ensure the safety of our children," Richards said.