Queens lawmakers offer a solution to making schools safer

Bayside, N.Y. – Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-) and City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-) want Queens public school principals to be able to lock their school’s front doors while school is in session.

Citing the tragic February school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida of 17 students and staff members, Braunstein and Vallone are calling on the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to lift rules that currently mandate front doors remain open from the outside while classes are in session. Vallone cited a recent incident at P.S. 184Q when a suspicious man reportedly entered the school.

“Currently DOE policy requires that school principals keep the front door of their school unlocked during the day. This allows an individual to enter the building before a determination can be made if they represent a danger or not. This deviates from the practice at many private schools where visitors must ring a bell and announce themselves before being permitted entry,” said Braunstein. “Granting public school principals this same authority to confirm whether or not an individual represents a threat before allowing them into a school could prevent dangerous incidents from taking place. It is a change we must consider.”

“When it comes to our students’ safety, we need to be proactive, not reactive, and principals should have the autonomy to decide when they think it is appropriate to preemptively lock their school entrances,” said Vallone. “Incidents like the one at P.S 184 clearly show that our students are not as safe as we think and changes need to be made to make sure that they can learn and grow in the safest environment possible. This request is just the first step in a series of changes that must be made. This must remain our top priority from here on out as we lead the charge for safety in our schools.”

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