New York – Yesterday, Councilman David G. Greenfield’s historic legislation, Introduction 65-A, passed with support from 43 Council Members. Only 4 Council Members voted against the law. After 21 months of tireless advocacy from Greenfield and diverse organizations across the City, Greenfield and the Mayor’s office reached a monumental agreement for school safety in New York City for all children, regardless of where they attend school. Greenfield’s bill is the first of its kind in the United States: it creates a school safety program for non-public schools with 300 or more students, giving each school at least one security officer upon request and an additional one for each 500 students enrolled. In light of the recent terror attacks worldwide, the passage of this bill has taken on added importance for the as many as 200,000 non-public school children that it will protect. Additionally, the officers, who must be licensed and work for a licensed agency, will earn prevailing wage as determined by state law. The agreement caps the spending on the program at $19.8 million in the first year and allows for future increases as needed based on the growth of the program. The program will take in effect on April 1, 2016.
“Today is a historic day for children’s safety in New York. I am proud that my bill, Introduction 65-A is passing today and will be implemented by April 1, 2016. This monumental legislation recognizes that every child, regardless of where they go to school, deserves to learn in a safe environment. In light of recent increases in bias crimes, especially anti-Semitic crimes, I am proud to pass this legislation that I sponsored. I am also extremely grateful to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my 44 colleagues who co-sponsored my bill and have supported this legislation since its introduction. I thank Mayor de Blasio for recognizing that all school-children need security and taking a bold step in protecting the most vulnerable New Yorkers. I especially want to thank the students, parents, school administrators, labor organizations and advocates from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths who strongly advocated for this protection. I am thankful to the Orthodox Union, the UJA-Federation of New York, Agudath Israel of America, the Sephardic Community Federation, the Catholic Conference, the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn & Queens, the Islamic Schools Association, the Muslim Community Network and SEIU 32 BJ building service workers’ union for their active partnership and unwavering support that led to the passage of this bill,” said Councilman Greenfield.
“Every student needs a safe environment in which to learn,” said Chair of the Committee on Public Safety Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “As biased and nonbiased related violence rises on campuses and in classrooms around the country, it is essential we find creative solutions to maintain security in all our schools. The safety provisions Int. 65 will provide to non-public schools meeting certain criteria will make our non-public schools, and by extension our City, safer for students, parents, and educational professionals everywhere. I thank Council Member David Greenfield for his tireless leadership on this effort and thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for recognizing the need to protect the public safety of all children.”
“This bill will allow schools across the five boroughs to make sure their facilities are safer and more secure for its students. This is a first of its kind measure to keep students in nonpublic schools safe. We are proud to lead on this landmark safety measure. Students across our city deserve a safe learning environment, no matter what community they come from or where they attend school. With this bill we are reaffirming that message and showing our commitment to all students in New York City,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
“We applaud the mayor and the City Council for coming together on legislation that will ensure non-public school students are safe and secure,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. “The legislation includes specific training for security guards so they have the expertise needed to work in schools and will also provide good jobs that will strengthen our communities.”
“Islamic Schools Association applauds New York City Council Member, David Greenfield, for his exceptional work in ensuring that the City provides Private Security Officers in Non-Public Schools. We thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill De Blassio for recognizing that all children must be educated in a safe environment and for passing this important legislation. Our thanks to all the New York City Council Members for their support and commitment to Intro 65, this vital legislation that provides security in our schools,” Rafeek Mohamed, President of Islamic Schools Association.
“Parents of nonpublic school children throughout the city will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that, at a time when the world has become increasingly dangerous, their precious children are afforded a serious measure of protection. Thank you Councilman Greenfield, thank you Mayor De Blasio, thank you Speaker Mark-Viverito, thank you to all the elected officials who made this happen,” said Rabbi David Zwiebel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel of America.
“The passage of the School Safety Agents Act will go far in enhancing the safety of private school students throughout the City of New York. We applaud the leadership of City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Councilmember Greenfield, the prime sponsor of this landmark legislation, in advancing this important measure,” said Joseph Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Catholic Community Relations Council.
“I am extremely gratified that the New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio were able to negotiate a deal that will increase security in non-public schools,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York. “Council Member David G. Greenfield and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, showed tremendous leadership in helping bring this landmark legislation into law.”
“OU-Teach NYS congratulates Council Member David G. Greenfield on the passage of Intro 65. This bill is historic and will help keep our children are safe at school . We look forward to working with Council Member Greenfield and the Administration to ensure that our community schools participate in this groundbreaking program,” said Jake Adler, NYS Policy Director for OU-Teach NYS.
“Councilman Greenfield’s tireless advocacy for Intro 65 has made it possible for many of our Catholic schools to be reimbursed for having a security guard on campus. In fact, all of our schools with 300 or more students will be eligible for 1 and all of our schools with 500 or more will be reimbursed for 2 security guards. Doing so helps restore some fairness in this city, with the non-public students receiving some of the same protections currently offered to the public school students,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Schools at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.
“We thank and applaud all those councilmembers who supported and voted for this bill. We are pleased that so many children will now be able to receive the security and protection that they deserve. The determination and perseverance that Councilman Greenfield showed in making sure this legislation would ultimately get passed was truly remarkable,” said Avi Spitzer, Executive Director of Sephardic Community Federation.
“This legislation reflects our responsibility to ensure the safety of every child in this city, no matter what school they attend. As security threats grow in New York City and around the world, we are doing what is necessary to ensure a safe learning environment for all of our students. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Member Greenfield and advocates across this city whose leadership will provide a measure of much-needed protection for students regardless of their background,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the City Council Jewish Caucus.
“Every child who goes to school in New York City should be safe when they are in school,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Intro 65 will make a safe space for all children, and I am proud to work with Council Member Greenfield and the New York City Council to make it happen.”
“All students deserve to have safe, protected and supportive learning environments free of fear or harm. The agreement reached by the Council and the Administration is an innovative approach that will safeguard public resources while ensuring student safety in schools. This is a victory for all parents, teachers and students that will heighten public and school safety across the City,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.
“New York City has a commitment to keeping every one of its students safe regardless of the type of school they attend. The Finance Committee and I are proud to support Intro 65 to equalize the distribution of security officers at schools across New York City; and I commend Council Member Greenfield for identifying this need in our communities,” Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, chair of the Committee on Finance.
“Every child in New York City deserves to be in a safe school environment. As members of City government we have an obligation to ensure that the educational environment of New York City’s Schools is maintained while protecting the safety of each student. This is a terrific safety measure that is an essential step towards safeguarding our children as we cannot ignore the vulnerability of our schools, public or non-public. Thank you Council Member Greenfield, Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for your leadership on this issue,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
“As a former educator, I strongly believe that when it comes to school, the only thing that needs to be on the mind of students or their parents is education. Parents should not have to worry about the safety and well-being of their children during school hours. Children and parents deserve peace of mind at school, no matter what school they attend. If all children truly matter as some in government claim, then our policies need to reflect that principle. I applaud Councilman Greenfield for championing this important student safety legislation and scoring a huge victory for kids in the five boroughs,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.
“Whether they attend public or non-public schools, all children deserve a safe and secure learning environment. This legislation about fundamental fairness and recognizing that the need to protect our most precious assets is paramount.” said Minority Leader Steven Matteo.
“As Chair of the Subcommittee on Non-public Schools and a member of the New York City Council Public Safety Committee, the security and safety of all NYC students continues to be my highest priority. I am extremely gratified that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito strongly support this new security initiative and I thank my colleague Councilman David Greenfield for his leadership and determination in seeing this important bill through to its implementation,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch.
“Schools should always be a safe zone for children. Protecting students from harm is an essential component to building a quality school. All schools, whether public or private, should be able to provide a secure environment so that our children can thrive academically, emotionally and socially,” stated Council Member Rafael L. Espinal.
“Every student in our city, no matter where they go to school, deserves to learn in a safe environment,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman.
“The issue is clear-cut; ALL children have the right to learn and study in a safe environment. School Safety Agents provide a critical measure and sense of security, and children in non-public schools should not have to go without this protection,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “We cannot politicize this issue and continue to compromise the safety of a large population of our kids.”
“New Yorkers prize diversity and understand that we don’t have to believe the same to be dedicated to one another’s safety. I believe strongly that every school in our city should have the level of security needed to keep the building environment and the children therein safe. It was in that spirit that I sponsored Avonte’s Law and it is in that spirit that I proudly express my support for Intro. 65,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.
“Government has an indisputable responsibility to protect children from physical harm. It is an imperative that we protect children in their school, irrespective of the status of the school,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz.
Currently, every New York City public school, no matter the location or risks is protected by NYPD school safety agents. Meanwhile, non-public schools, that educate approximately one in five New York City students, have no comparable security guarantee. With the passage and and implementation of Greenfield’s law, most non-public schools including Catholic schools, Yeshivas and Muslim schools will have comparable security to public schools. The historic legislation will afford hundreds of thousands of New York’s parents well-deserved peace of mind. The legislation will also create as many as 500 new prevailing wage jobs, helping to close the income gap and security gap at the same time.