Watch CBS News

String Of Violence On NYC School Campuses, Dramatic Drop In Safety Officers Has Parents Concerned For Students' Wellbeing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There has been a dramatic drop in safety officers in New York City schools, and since in-person learning resumed this fall, we've seen a string of violence on campuses.

It has parents worried about the safety of their kids.

As CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer reports, the head of the school safety union is saying "I told you so," claiming that city officials didn't listen when he said the "defund the police" movement and a lack of funds to hire more agents would leave schools vulnerable and students unprotected.

New York City police officers joined an army of extra school safety agents outside Fanny Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx as the Department of Education beefed up security, including bringing in portable scanning equipment to the non-scanning school after a 16-year-old student stabbed an 18-year-old three times in the school library.

Only two agents were on duty. The DOE conceded there should have been four.

"It's very concerning, very concerning," parent Arelis Gonzalez said. "The first day of school was bad. Like, there was no safety. Everybody was all over the place."

"You know, these children, they should be checked, you know, before they enter into the school, before they get inside, you know. They have to check their bags. They have to check everything," parent Violet Atiri said.

The stabbing at Fanny Lou Hamer is just one of a spate of violent incidents that have rocked the system since students returned to the classroom.

You can see the knife in a teenager's hand in disturbing video at Harry S. Truman High School, where a 14-year-old was stabbed in the head in a fight over a girl.

It goes on and on. Near Metropolitan Diploma High School in Brownsville, a 17-year-old girl was stabbed in the neck, and a 15-year-old was slashed in the face at DeWitt Clinton High School.

"Why would a child think the next thing to do is to stab another child?" Atiri said.

"This is something that we warned everyone about last year. The whole 'defund the police, get school safety out of schools' movement was going to take effect when schools open," said Teamsters Local 237 President Gregory Floyd.

Floyd, who represents school safety agents, says the combination of "defund the police" cuts and the vaccine mandate have spelled a dramatic drop in personnel -- 1,200 agents who retired weren't replaced and 600 more are not at work because they refused to get the COVID shot.

Instead of 5,500 agents, Floyd says there are now 3,700.

"This results in violence not being prevented," he said.

A DOE spokesman insisted serious incidents in city schools are 40% lower than before the pandemic, but he offered no statistics to back it up.

CBS2 went to the NYPD, which said there were 60 felony assaults for the entire 12-month 2019 school year. In the last two months, there have been about 15, so if felony assaults continue at the same pace, they could far outstrip the pre-pandemic totals.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.