NEW YORK - Right now, more than 1,000 positions as New York City school safety agents remain unfilled. And the mayor doesn't want to fill most of those vacancies.
"Mayor Adams is putting our children's lives at risk, and we are not okay with that," parent Mona Davids said, reacting to plans to slash the number of school safety agents.
Under a preliminary budget introduced by Mayor Eric Adams this week, the number of school safety agents would be permanently reduced by the hundreds. Current agents wouldn't lose their jobs but there would be a big reduction in new hires.
"No child can learn in an unsafe environment and right now looking at the guns and the weapons that are being confiscated, our schools are not safe and neither are our communities," Davids said.
She is also a member of NYC School Safety Coalition, a grassroots organization made up of parents, school safety agents and other community members. Her group said most school safety agents are women of color who often live in the communities they serve, and these cuts come as schools are seeing more weapons confiscated.
Hank Sheinkopf is the spokesperson for Teamsters Local 237, the union representing the agents.
"Just the other day a pistol was picked up at a school, there are guns outside of schools being dropped," Sheinkopf said. "Crime has been up, violence has been up, assaults have been up."
But it is a different narrative from the city. A spokesperson for the mayor told FOX 5 NY incidents in public schools are down 19% compared to 2019. The mayor's office said the NYPD determines funding, staffing, hiring, and placement for school safety agents.
An NYPD spokesperson confirmed, "The Preliminary Budget includes a baseline vacancy reduction of 560 School Safety positions" and that this reduction aims to "realign the budget more closely with actual headcount levels."
"That, to me, is word salad and they are being dishonest and they are not being transparent," Davids said. "It's not a matter of incidents being down — it's a matter of incidents not being reported and that's why we have parents now going directly to the press."
"This is a budget proposal and budgets can change until they are struck, which will be at midnight of June 30," Sheinkopf said. "So there is some time for people to say 'No, we need those school safety agents restored and we don't need any cuts.'"