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Safety top of mind as New York City gears up for 1st day of school Thursday



NEW YORK — New York City is gearing up to welcome more than one million public school students back into the classroom Thursday. 

Some changes are in store, including new reading programs and a focus on the arts. 

Chancellor David Banks is expected to make an announcement Wednesday at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens about physical and emotional safety. It comes after he sat down with CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer to discuss some of the issues he and his team are working to tackle this year.

More than 1.1 million students are cherishing their last day of summer break before heading back to school. It can be an anxiety filled time for both children and their families, especially when it comes to safety.

“I am beyond hopeful that this is going to be a great school year,” Banks told Kramer. 

In an exclusive sit-down interview, Banks said the Department of Education is stepping up active shooter drills and training to ensure physical safety.


“The reality of what we’re seeing across the nation is real. And so the the training now is a very enhanced level of training that we think is taking advantage of everything that we’ve been seeing, the latest technology, and what we can do to best be prepared,” Banks said. 

Back To School Blueprint: Schools Chancellor David Banks talks with Marcia Kramer


The chancellor also said expect to see more school safety agents in buildings. Kramer learned there are 200 who recently graduated from the police academy, and another class is coming up right behind them. 

But the big concern, as Banked pointed out, is kids bringing weapons to school. 

“We have been disturbed by the number of weapons that we have seen during the last couple of years,” he said. “They like being around their friends and being looked after by the teachers. But we’re very focused on safety. We’ll be making some very significant announcements in the next few days.”


The chancellor said there will be new reading programs and a focus on arts, music and civic education. 

Of course, schools will be coping with an unanticipated problem — more than 1,000 children of asylum seekers arriving in the city. 

“We are strongly calling on the mayor to do the right thing,” said City Councilmember Lincoln Restler.

Some on the City Council say tackling these issues, among others, is going to require a larger budget. Just Tuesday, the council passed a resolution calling on the mayor and schools chancellor to immediately reverse the DOE’s cuts to school budgets. The resolution calls for the department to restore $469 million. 

“Without his intervention, we are going to see larger class sizes on Thursday, fewer music and art teachers… essential cuts to our schools that we simply cannot afford,” Restler said.

We expect to hear more from the chancellor on the upcoming school year coming up at 8 a.m.


Source: CBS


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