NYC schools to feature new front door locks and safety agents this year

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said the start of the school year coincides with the safest summer in years.

Dan Krauth Image
Friday, September 1, 2023
New front door locks and safety agents for NYC schools
Thursday September 7 is the first day of classes for public school students in New York City. Dan Krauth has more on what schools are doing to protect their students this upcoming school year.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The nation's largest school district is gearing up for the start of the 2023-24 school year.

On Friday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams was joined by NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban and NYC Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David C. Banks to discuss the city's back-to-school safety preparations ahead of the start of the 2023 school year.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams discussed back-to-school safety at Friday's briefing.

They outlined initiatives in place to help ensure a safe beginning of classes.

WATCH: NYC officials hold back-to-school safety briefing

The front doors at New York City public schools will lock beginning this year, starting at elementary schools - a significant increase in security meant to prevent a possible school shooting, said NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks.

"After the school day begins and the door locks, anyone who shows up at the school will press the buzzer, will be seen by the school safety agent at the front door. They will be able to communicate with them and present their ID and the reason for being there before we gain entry," Banks said.

The program will start in elementary schools, and then expand to middle schools and high schools next year.

The city will also continue programs to make students feel safer just outside schools, where many crimes involving students occur.

An increase in weapons seized in schools last year was tied to violence just off school grounds.

Officials say 6,945 weapons were seized on school grounds last year, some of them guns and box cutters, but most of them were knives.

Banks said the city will continue to work with community members to create safe passageways to and from school.

"Last year we were disturbed to see the uptick in weapons brought to school," said Banks. "Kids were not bringing these weapons to school to do damage to their classmates. They told us over and over, these weapons were being used to protect themselves to and from school."

Banks said students will also have two to four minutes of mindful breathing every day, to teach them how to calm conflicts before they become violent.

"It's not just a cute thing to do," he said. "It is a lifelong skill that we want to see our schools get better at and develop over a period of time so that when they are faced with any level of trauma they know how to take a deep breath and know how to make better choices before they just react."

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said the start of the school year coincides with the safest summer in years.

"Shooting incidents across five boroughs down 26%. The result is 193 fewer people struck by gunfire this summer," said Caban. "(There were) also declines in murders. So far this year we had 27 fewer murders this year citywide."

Thursday September 7 marks the first day of classes for New York City public school students.

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